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Hurricane Elsa Could Complicate Surfside Search Efforts

Hurricane Elsa is beginning a journey through the Caribbean. In addition to other damage, it could interfere with the search and rescue operation at the collapsed condo in Surfside, Fla.
Hurricane Elsa is beginning a journey through the Caribbean. In addition to other damage, it could interfere with the search and rescue operation at the collapsed condo in Surfside, Fla.

Updated July 2, 2021 at 9:00 PM ET

As Hurricane Elsa heads toward Florida, officials at the site of the Surfside condo collapse are keeping a close watch on the storm.

Officials haven't said whether they are expecting any delays to the search efforts, where 126 people remain unaccounted for. But Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters Friday that they are "actively monitoring" the situation and "paying special attention" to any possible impact in Surfside and the Miami-Dade County area.

They have begun preparations for potential impact, which includes ensuring that the equipment on-site and the overall operation are protected.

"We're going like we normally would with these things — this is just what we do — but we're adding this special emphasis on this site because we understand the sensitivities involved," DeSantis said.

The hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, is currently about 475 miles east-southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic.

It is expected to hit the Windward Islands on Friday and move into Haiti on Saturday. Jamaica and the southern coast of the Dominican Republic will also likely get hit over the weekend, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The Florida Keys and other parts of the state could see strong winds and heavy rain early next week, with residents being urged to stay abreast of forecast updates.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday that residents should have an emergency response plan in place and prepare for the approaching storm.

Other officials urged residents to make sure they have enough supplies for each family member to survive for three to seven days, and to keep a battery-powered radio on hand. People have been urged to prepare their homes for potential impact by securing any outdoor items, such as patio furniture, or moving them inside ahead of oncoming winds.

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