USA Today: ARLINGTON, Virginia — Tropical Storm Elsa powered its way up the East Coast on Thursday, an unrelenting weather system that has claimed one life, injured at least 10 people and flooded parts of New York City.
About 27,000 homes and businesses remained without power in the eastern U.S. on Thursday, and flooding was a concern as isolated areas could see up to 8 inches of rain before the storm passes.
A flash flood watch was issued for tens of millions of people along the East Coast because of the threat of heavy rain. The National Hurricane Center issued the tropical storm warning as far north as Boston and Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
In New York City, pictures and video on social media showed flooded subway stops and shut down highways and roads. The NYPD had to rescue several motorists from rising waters, they said on Twitter.
As of 11 p.m. EDT Thursday, Elsa was centered about 65 miles north-northwest of Norfolk, Virginia and 170 miles southwest of Atlantic City, New Jersey, moving northeast at 25 mph, the hurricane center said. The storm has strengthened slightly, and sustained winds howled at 50 mph.
Elsa was expected to gain speed over the next couple of days, pass near the eastern mid-Atlantic states by Thursday night and then edge near or over the Northeast on Friday and Friday night, said Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the hurricane center in Miami.
The system should move over the Atlantic off Canada by Friday night and Saturday, Beven said.
The storm, which killed three people last week as it swept across islands in the Caribbean, caused flooding in parts of Florida the past couple of days. Jacksonville Fire and Rescue reported that a tree fell on two cars Wednesday, killing one person. Rescuers pulled a person from a car swamped on a flooded street.
Possible tornado strikes Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base
In Georgia, a suspected tornado touched down at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base, injuring about 10 people, commanding officer Capt. Chester Parks said. Multiple recreational vehicles in the base RV park were damaged, along with some buildings, he said.
“I want to thank all of our first responders and Camden County first responders for their quick actions,” Parks said. “Their quick response most certainly helped.”
Sergio Rodriguez, who lives near the RV park, said he raced to the scene, fearing friends staying at the park might be hurt. The area was under a tornado warning Wednesday evening.
“There were just RVs flipped over on their sides, pickup trucks flipped over, a couple of trailers had been shifted and a couple of trailers were in the water” of a pond on the site, Rodriguez said.
New York City could see flooding
The National Weather Service issued a flash flood watch for New York City, starting at midnight Thursday and lasting until noon Friday.
Although heavy rainfall will be possible as early as Thursday afternoon, the greater chances for this will begin Thursday night, the weather service said. Total rainfall from Thursday afternoon through Friday is expected to range from 2 to 3 inches, and higher amounts are possible in areas.
“Damaging winds are the primary threat from these storms,” NYC Emergency Management warned.
Boston in danger of feeling Elsa’s wrath
Incredibly, the tropical storm that smashed through the Caribbean a week ago is now a threat in Massachusetts.
A tropical storm warning is in effect through Friday evening for coastal parts of Massachusetts as well as parts of Connecticut and Rhode Island. Heavy rains could bring localized flooding to parts of Boston.
“Main threats are damaging winds, isolated hail & locally heavy rainfall which may lead to street flooding,” the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency tweeted.
South Texas sees flooding from separate system
A separate area of tropical storminess brought showers and thunderstorms to South Texas on Thursday. “Although development of this system is not anticipated since it is expected to remain over land, heavy rainfall and flash flooding will be possible along the Texas Gulf coast over the next few days,” the hurricane center said.
In Corpus Christi, Texas, more than 100,000 gallons of domestic wastewater overflowed as rainwater overwhelmed the city’s wastewater pipelines.
Elsa made landfall Wednesday in Florida; 9 missing after boat capsizes
Elsa made landfall around 11 a.m. Wednesday in Taylor County along Florida’s northern Gulf Coast, the hurricane center said. Earlier, Key West streets had turned to roaring rivers, and Tampa was blasted by high winds and heavy rains.
Tuesday, the Coast Guard and a good Samaritan boat rescued 13 people off the coast of Key West. Coast Guard officials said the group was among 22 that left Cuba on a boat that capsized in waters churned by the storm. Seven men and two women were missing.