Tropical storm Elsa made landfall on Cuba's south-central coast on Monday, pounding the island nation with heavy rain and sustained winds peaking near 95 mph.
Storm surges were affecting Cuba's southern coast and rain was expected to cause significant flash flooding and mudslides.
More than 100,000 people in Cuba have been evacuated from flood-prone areas, most going to homes of family and friends, but thousands also going to government shelters, according to state-run media.
Elsa, which previously wreaked havoc in Barbados, St. Lucia, Haiti, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, causing at least three deaths in the Caribbean, was on track to reach Florida as early as Tuesday.
In Seminole, Florida, residents filled sand bags as they braced for what was likely to be another especially active hurricane season.
WENDY SCHULTZ: "If we have a lot of water, which we might, and I wait till later to get sand bags there won't be any left, and then I will have a wet bedroom. So, this year, I decided to be prepared and come early and put them away for the rest of the hurricane season, 'cause, you know, it's Florida."
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Elsa was expected to pass near the Florida Keys early Tuesday and move near or over portions of the west coast of Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday, adding that tornadoes were possible across south Florida as early as Monday night.