Ahead of the potential impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa, Monroe County is advising residents to be prepared.
The county issued a state of emergency order Saturday and was one of 15 counties in the state of Florida under a state of emergency issued by Gov. Ron DeSantis, allowing for whatever assistance is needed both before, during and after the storm.
“We’re pretty used to having tropical storms and hurricanes in the Florida Keys, so we’re doing what we normally do,” Monroe County Mayor Michelle Coldiron said during an interview with NBC 6 anchor Alina Machado. “We’re telling everyone to pick up their patio furniture, get everything set, get extra water and batteries.”
A tropical storm warning is in effect for portions of the Florida Keys from Craig Key through Marathon and into Key West. A tropical storm watch is in effect for portions from Craig Key east to Ocean Reef.
Elsa is expected to move toward the area west of Key West starting late Monday afternoon and evening into Tuesday morning with winds forecast between 50 and 60 miles per hour.
Mandatory evacuations in Monroe County are not expected for this storm.
“The last thing we want is a lot of people leaving the Florida Keys on Monday at 11 a.m.,” Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi said. “We hope visitors will consider extending their stay through Wednesday, when we are expecting normal summertime conditions to resume, or to leave earlier on Monday to avoid traffic issues in the Upper Keys we normally see after busy holiday weekends.”
Coldiron said the county will continue to monitor the storm and could make a last-minute change to open shelters.
“The safety of our residents is always the number one priority, but as it stands right now we do not feel we will need to open any of our shelters,” she said.