Tropical Storm Elsa continued her approach to Delmarva Thursday night, providing a soaking rain and strong winds, especially along the Delaware coast.
As of 11 p.m. Thursday, July 8, 2021, Tropical Storm Elsa was located about 120 miles SSW of Dover, moving the northeast at 25 mph with maximum sustained winds at 50 mph.
The forecast track continued to bring what's left of the center of the inland tropical system over Sussex County within the next three hours, before racing to the eastern edge of Long Island, New York by 8am Friday.
The National Hurricane Center has issued Tropical Storm Warnings for the Delmarva coastline and southern Delaware Bay ahead of Elsa's approach, and the amount of rain predicted to be coming with Elsa--roughly 2 to 3 inches, with up to 5 inches possible locally, particularly in Sussex County--has led to officials already posting a Flood Watch for all of the state of Delaware, along with southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey.
Laurel had received 0.84 inches of rain from the storm as of 11 pm according to the Delaware Environmental Observing System, with some heavy rain bands still working up from the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia.
The strongest recorded wind gust was a 28.0 mph reading at the Indian River Bridge at 10:35 pm. Tropical Storm strength begins at 39 mph.
While Elsa is expected to bring wind gusts of 40 to 45 mph while she moves through the area, with waves between six and nine feet at the beaches, NBC10 meteorologist Steve Sosna anticipated a return of sunshine by Friday afternoon.
"At 7, 8, 9 o'clock in the morning, it's out of here, and then we get that nice window where we will see the weather quiet down," Sosna said.
At Rehoboth Beach, though, while the storm may not be long-lasting, its effects are anticipated to have impacts even into the following afternoon, and there's already talk of closing the beaches in some areas for the day.
"We're gonna have a big increase in surf rip currents. What the people need to know is to check with the life guards," said Rehoboth Beach Patrol Chief Rich Szvitich. "We do anticipate probably having to close the beach depending on how much tide we get."
Cape May Ferry officials announced Friday they are anticipating operating a normal schedule on Friday, assuming the storm has cleared the area before their first scheduled Cape May to Lewes sailing at 7am Friday.
WDEL's DJ McAneny and Mike Phillips, and NBC10 contributed to this report.