Tropical Storm Elsa will miss the Surfside condo collapse site; Number of dead at 28, of which 117 are still missing

KEY POINTS

  • The death toll rose to 28 after another victim was found in the rubble of the condominium
  • Controlled demolition was planned due to the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa
  • The Surfside area is now likely to avoid the shock of the storm

A day after the remaining structure of Champlain Towers South in Florida was demolished over fears that a tropical storm could bring it down, the latest forecast indicates Elsa may not cause as much damage as originally predicted in the Surfside area .

Recent weather updates suggest that the Surfside area, where the Champlain Towers are located, could avoid the strong winds of Elsa which swept across the Caribbean islands last week.

Florida authorities ordered the controlled demolition of the remaining sections of the Champlain Towers South building on Sunday. Search and rescue efforts to locate survivors also resumed after the demolition.

In a press conference Monday night, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the death toll in the June 24 condominium collapse rose to 28 after another victim was found in the rubble, while 117 people are still missing. No survivors have been rescued so far.

Research efforts had been underway since about 55 of the 136 units collapsed. However, operations were slowed down due to the unsafe conditions at the site.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the only way to move forward with the rescue was to dismantle the rest of the standing structures, CNN reported. “Really, we couldn’t go on without bringing down this building, ”she said.

With the building now down, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said threats of the structure further collapsing and making the situation unsafe for rescue groups have been eliminated.

Residents of the building were evacuated prior to demolition, and residents of the Champlain East Towers building were also encouraged to evacuate the area for safety reasons.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Elsa continues to bring heavy rain to Cuba after making landfall Monday afternoon. Forecasters say he could now turn to Florida.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm is expected to bring up to 10 inches of rain to Cuba. Some parts had to get up to 15 inches of rain.

In Florida, an estimated 9 million people were on tropical storm watch and warning Monday after forecasters extended tropical storm watch north along the state’s west coast and storm warning northward. west along the Panhandle, CBS News reported.

The NHC said that while the possibility of heavy flooding persists in Cuba, Elsa is expected to gradually weaken as she heads to the lower Florida Keys on Tuesday.

In the latest Twitter update, the NHC said Elsa was “now over the Straits of Florida”.

Earlier Monday, the agency said there is “life-threatening storm surge danger” in parts of the state’s west coast.

Search and rescue teams search for survivors at the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 30, 2021 in Surfside, Florida Photo credit: AFP / Giorgio VIERA


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