At least one person died in Jacksonville, Fla., due to a fallen tree, officials said. Photo courtesy of JEA/Twitter
July 8 (UPI) -- Tropical Storm Elsa killed at least one person in Florida and injured several others in Georgia as the system made its way north across the southern states.
Elsa, the fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall early Wednesday along Florida's Gulf coast, thrashing communities as it moved across the state and into Georgia.
Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry told reporters during an evening press conference that Elsa had caused damage throughout the city and one person had died due to a fallen tree.
He said a possible tornado had hit Jacksonville, and that power lines were down and some people were without power. No injuries had been reported.
"Now is a time to remember ... weather is unpredictable. Things can happen. It looked calm this morning. It looked calm this afternoon," he said.
Jay Stowe, the chief executive at JEA, told reporters that at the hight of the storm upwards of 15,000 were without power.
"We'll continue to work throughout the night and into the morning to get everything back up and running," he said.
Fire chief Keith Powers warned residents to stay out of the storm's debris field as there are lots of leaning trees and downed power lines.
"We don't need any other injuries or fatalities from this storm that's come through tonight," he said.
At least one apartment complex was damaged in the storm and authorities were on the scene to aid those impacted.
About 50 miles north across the state's border in Georgia, officials at the Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay in Camden County reported "multiple injuries" due to the storm.
A suspected tornado touched down on the base at about 5:50 p.m., causing damage to multiple recreational vehicles at an RV park and also to buildings and structures on the installation, it said, adding that those injured were transported to local medical facilities for treatment.
"There has been no damage to any sensitive military asset or submarine," the base said in a statement.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who had declared a state of emergency prior to Elsa making landfall, told reporters in a press conference Wednesday that there had been no "significant reports" of structural damage in the state.
At of 6 a.m., some 26,000 customers were without power, he said. Early Thursday, fewer than 4,000 were still experiencing a power outage, according to poweroutage.us.
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp had also declared a state of emergency ahead of the storm, stating "the potential for flooding and high winds, along with isolated tornadoes is enough of a threat that everyone should make necessary preparations in anticipation of Tropical Storm Elsa's arrival."
The National Hurricane Center said in its 2 a.m. EDT Thursday advisory that the storm was located about 105 miles north-northwest of Brunswick, Ga., and about 115 miles west of Charleston, S.C., and was moving north-northeast at 16 mph with sustains winds of 45 mph.
The storm formed late last week in the Atlantic and had battered the Caribbean as it made its way toward the U.S. mainland, resulting in one death Saturday in Soufriere, Saint Lucia, where significant damage was caused, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.