Elsa has maintained wind speeds over 60 mph, but officials expect the storm to weaken by the time it reaches Florida: wind speeds should drop to between 35 and 43 mph. A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of the Florida Keys.
The Coast Guard captain for the Port for Key West, which is one of the busiest cruise ports of call in the U.S., warned vessels that any barges with cargo of 300 gross tons or more should plan to leave.
"Mariners are reminded there aren't safe havens in these facilities, and ports are safest when the inventory of vessels is at a minimum," a statement by the Coast Guard read.
Pleasure crafts are advised to seek safe harbor, and drawbridges will not operate during the storm. Any vessel that cannot depart within eight hours prior to the storm making landfall are advised to find an alternative port.
The port stands at condition Yankee, which means landfall expected within 24 hours; if and when condition Zulu is set, landfall is expected within 12 hours.
The Coast Guard also warned the public to stay off the water and evacuate as necessary ahead of the storm.
Elsa is set to cross Cuba on Sunday. The National Hurricane Center is tracking the storm via its website.