Elsa latest: Florida on notice as tropical storm expected to churn over Cuba before passing near Keys

Heavy rains are expected to hit the Carolinas later this week

A larger number of Florida residents are being told to brace for Tropical Storm Elsa, which is nearing landfall in Cuba after battering the southern coasts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic over the weekend. At least three people have been killed.

On Monday, the National Hurricane Center extended its tropical storm warnings and watches north along the west coast of Florida. As of Monday morning, Elsa was closing in on West-Central Cuba. 

A storm surge watch is also in effect for portions of the west coast of Florida, according to officials. 

Elsa, which had been a Category 1 hurricane earlier on Saturday, weakened in its approach before heading to Cuba and was downgraded to a tropical storm. 

Prior to that, the storm sped through the Caribbean and at one point, had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.

ELSA LATEST: TROPICAL STORM WARNING ISSUED FOR PARTS OF FLORIDA KEYS

Tropical storm conditions are expected in portions of the Florida Keys and southwestern Florida on Monday night and Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center tweeted. Meanwhile, officials also noted that a "tropical storm watch and a storm surge watch are in effect for much of the west coast of Florida." 

A tropical storm warning, according to the National Hurricane Center, is issued when "tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area." 

A tropical storm watch is issued when "tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area."

ELSA DEVASTATES CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AS FLORIDA BRACES FOR IMPACT

Elsa is projected to approach the Florida Keys, the Florida Peninsula and coastal Georgia through Wednesday, bringing with it heavy rainfall that may result in "isolated flash, urban and minor river flooding," the National Hurricane Center said. 

The storm prompted Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to declare a state of emergency in 15 Florida counties, including in Miami-Dade County where a high-rise condominium building collapsed last week. 

DeSantis warned residents to prepare for possible flooding which may lead to potential power outages. 

"Now is the time to restock your supplies and review your hurricane plan," DeSantis tweeted. 

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After striking Florida, heavy rains are expected to hit the coastal region of South and North Carolina, which may also create "isolated flash and urban flooding," according to the National Hurricane Center. 

The coasts of Georgia and the Carolinas also face a risk of tropical storm conditions and storm surge impacts Wednesday and Thursday. 

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer, Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.