Surfside search-and-rescue continues as Tropical Storm Elsa impacts Florida

Building Collapse Miami
(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
Rescue efforts continue at the Surfside Condo that collapsed on June 24th in Miami as Tropical Storm Elsa begins moving westward, impacting South Florida.

On Monday, however, lightning forced crews to pause the search for victims of the June 24 collapse in Surfside and a garage area in the rubble filled with water, officials said.

As of Tuesday, Tropical Storm Elsa posed new threats to the rescue site at the collapsed South Florida condo building.

Elsa’s maximum sustained winds strengthened to 60 mph (95 kph) early Tuesday. A slow strengthening is forecast through Tuesday night and Elsa could be near hurricane strength before it makes landfall in Florida. Its core was about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of Key West, Florida, and 270 miles (435 kilometers) south of Tampa. It was continuing to move to the north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

Three to 5 inches of rainfall with localized totals of up to 8 inches of rain are expected through Wednesday across the Keys and into southwest and western portions of the Florida Peninsula. The forecast included the possibility of tornadoes across South Florida Tuesday morning and across the upper peninsula later in the day.

Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded a state of emergency on Monday to cover a dozen counties where Elsa was expected to make a swift passage on Wednesday, and President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state ahead of the storm.