Jul 7, 2021 - News

Tropical Storm Elsa seems to spare Tampa Bay as it churns up Florida coast

A man walks past sand bags placed at the entrance of a store to prevent flooding at Clearwater Beach. Photo: Paul Hennessy/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Seems we've dodged a bullet in Tampa Bay. By 5:30am Wednesday, Tropical Storm Elsa was still threatening to cause moderate storm surge along our shorelines, but an early morning tour revealed some downed branches and wet streets and little other damage.

The latest: After being downgraded as a hurricane overnight, Elsa was located about 70 miles west-northwest of Tampa, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 5am advisory.

State of play: As it neared the Florida coast, Elsa brought wind and rain to the area, but its worst-case scenarios, including a storm surge timed to high tide, didn’t materialize overnight in the immediate metro area.

  • The biggest impact in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties appear to be power outages, but even those aren’t tremendously widespread. Check out the latest outage maps for Duke Energy and TECO Energy.
  • Rainfall totals generally underperformed in the denser parts of Tampa Bay. Some parts of Tampa saw about 4 inches of rain, though the worst rain bands were concentrated farther south.
  • Even the wind didn’t show up as advertised for the most part. According to the National Weather Service, Tampa’s sustained winds never reached tropical storm-force, topping out at 37 mph. St. Pete got up to 52 mph, and the highest sustained winds in the area were 59 mph at Clearwater Beach. 

What’s next: We’re not totally out of the woods yet as of our 6:30am send time here at Axios Tampa Bay. 


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