Elsa weakens to tropical storm in Florida

Elsa was expected to drop up to 10 centimetres of rain across the Florida peninsula.
Elsa was expected to drop up to 10 centimetres of rain across the Florida peninsula.

Elsa has weakened to a tropical storm and is expected to soon hit the north Florida Gulf coast, the US National Hurricane Center says.

It had strengthened to a hurricane, the first of the season, on Tuesday night along southwest of Tampa Bay.

The storm was 95 km west of Tampa Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 115 km/h, the NHC said in an advisory early on Wednesday.

Elsa also briefly strengthened to a hurricane last week, when it killed at least three people, blew roofs off homes, toppled trees and sparked flooding in Caribbean island nations east of Cuba.

"Elsa is forecast to make landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast by late Wednesday morning and then move across the southeastern United States through Thursday," the hurricane centre said.

A few tornadoes were also possible across the western and central Florida Peninsula, the NHC added.

Australian Associated Press