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Schooner "Thomas B. Garland," aground after a hurricane in Tampa Bay in 1921. Photo: State Archives of Florida

Remember little Tropical Storm Eta back in November, and the storm surge that ravaged our coastlines, sent salt water gushing into homes and garages and triggered the rescue of 33 people from high water?

👇 This was the post-Eta Riverwalk in downtown Tampa.

  • Eta's storm surge was 3.5 feet. The 1921 hurricane, which made landfall at Tarpon Springs, brought a reported surge of 10.5 feet.
  • So in these photos, picture the water over our heads.
The Tampa Riverwalk fully underwater after Tropical Storm Eta's 3.5-foot storm surge. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios
Ben walks south on the Tampa Riverwalk on Nov. 12 after Tropical Storm Eta. Photo: Asher Montgomery/Axios

Bay News 9 meteorologist Nick Merianos imagines that scenario:

  • Water would lap at the second-story balcony on coastal buildings. 
  • Airports would flood, including parts of Tampa International, Clearwater St. Pete International, Peter O'Knight and Albert Whitted Airport. 
  • The lower levels of Tampa General Hospital would flood.
  • Transportation would come to a halt, and Pinellas County would become essentially two islands. 
"There's no question that a storm like this will happen again. The return rate is about every 100 to 150 years. Statistically speaking, we are in that window, and chances are we will eventually see one in or near Tampa Bay."
Bay News 9 meteorologist Nick Merianos

The (scary) bottom line: There are 3 million more people living here than in 1921.

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Go deeper

Nicholas strengthens into a hurricane as it nears Texas

A car speeds through a flooded street ahead of the Tropical Storm Nicholas on September 13, 2021 in Galveston, Texas. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Nicholas strengthened into a hurricane as it neared Texas' coast late Monday, per the National Hurricane Center.

The latest: The storm was expected to make landfall along the Texas coast in a the next few hours, the NHC said in an 11p.m. update. It was already bringing heavy rains, strong winds and storm surges to parts of the central and upper Texas coast.

Updated 56 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan police reform negotiations end without deal

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) with Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in the Capitol in May 2021. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Bipartisan talks on reforming police tactics and accountability, prompted by George Floyd's murder in May 2020, have ended without a compromise, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), a key negotiator, said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Lawmakers, led by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sens. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Booker, had been working toward a bipartisan deal for months but things fell apart due to disagreements on qualified immunity and other issues.

Federal Reserve scales back expectations for economic recovery as Delta variant weighs

Fed chair Jerome Powell during a congressional hearing last year. (Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The Fed downgraded near-term expectations for the economy and the labor market, alongside hotter-than-expected inflation, in new estimates out on Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's the first time those closely-watched estimates reflect impact from the delta variant that's already rattled the labor market. Still, Fed chairman Jerome Powell said enough progress has been made to begin to pull back emergency-era measures that have supported the economy.