Hurricane Elsa’s maximum sustained wind speeds have climbed above 75 mph, returning the storm to category 1 hurricane status, according to the National Weather Service.

Shortly before 8 p.m. Tuesday, the storm was churning about 100 miles south-southwest of Tampa, moving north at around 14 mph. Elsa is expected to make landfall on the north Florida Gulf Coast late Wednesday morning.

A tropical storm warning for the Lower Florida Keys has been lifted.

Current forecasts show the storm turning north-northeast early Wednesday, then speed up along the East Coast. “Additional slight strengthening” is possible overnight, the NWS reported.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has declared states of emergency in 33 counties, and the National Weather Service expanded its warnings and watches into coastal Georgia.

He warned of “hazardous conditions” and said the storm would likely make landfall between 8 and 9 a.m. Wednesday on Florida’s northern Gulf Coast.

In addition to damaging winds and heavy rains, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center warned of life-threatening storm surges, flooding and isolated tornadoes. A hurricane warning has been issued for a long stretch of coastline, from Egmont Key at the mouth of Tampa Bay to the Steinhatchee River in Florida’s Big Bend area. Landfall was expected somewhere in between.

Shallow coastal areas, including Tampa, could be vulnerable to storm surge, according to experts.

Florida officials were warning residents to wear protective gear and be mindful of snakes and other potentially hazardous animals as they clean up after Tropical Storm Elsa passes through.

The storm’s passage also raised safety concerns on the opposite coast, where rescuers were still digging into the rubble of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo complex in Surfside, where at least 36 people were killed and dozens remain unaccounted after the building crumbled on July 24.

Search and rescue crews briefly stopped their efforts as lightning lit up the skies earlier in the day.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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