The chaos associated with Tropical Storm Elsa will bring potentially dangerous wildlife into populated areas across the Southeast, experts warn.
This includes snakes, alligators and even bears, three species native to the states from Florida to North Carolina.
Heavy winds and flooding associated with the storm could force such species from their homes onto highways — and even into neighborhoods, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is warning.
The displaced wildlife could linger for days, or even weeks, depending on the amount of destruction, the commission said.
“The best way people can stay safe and help wildlife under storm conditions is to be alert and give wildlife their space,” the commission posted on Facebook.
“People should not attempt a wildlife rescue during or after a hurricane or tropical storm if that would place them in a potentially dangerous situation.”
Elsa has been trending west, bringing the promise of excessive rain closer to the Central Carolinas, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).
The storm will cross northern Florida and reach southeastern Georgia later Wednesday. The farther west it shifts, forecasters say, the higher the tornado threat.
Rainfall of up to 4 inches is forecast through Central Florida, southeast Georgia and the eastern half of both Carolinas. However, some areas could see up to six inches along the storm’s track up the East Coast, the NWS says.
“Elsa is expected to track across the eastern Carolinas tonight into Thursday afternoon, bringing the potential for heavy rainfall, especially for the far southeastern zones,” according to the NWS.
“Forecast confidence remains low at this time as the track still has the potential to shift slightly to the west or to the east.”