TAMPA, Fla. — Tropical Storm Elsa made landfall near Keaton Beach in Taylor County, Florida Wednesday morning.
The 10 Tampa Bay team of meteorologists will keep you posted online and on television around the clock as this system develops in the coming days.
- Elsa, a 65-mph tropical storm, sent bands of heavy rain and gusty winds into the Tampa Bay area Tuesday evening into Wednesday morning.
- The National Hurricane Center canceled all warnings for the Tampa Bay area.
- The following Tampa Bay counties issued local states of emergency: Hernando, Hillsborough, Manatee and Pinellas.
> Click here for spaghetti models, forecast cones and information to be prepared for the storm.
Below are live updates on the storm's track and ways you can be prepared for the potential impacts of the storm.
6 p.m. Wednesday, July 7
Manatee County leaders said high water was reported at the intersection of Rye Road and Upper Manatee River Road. Drivers are urged to use caution.
5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 7
Citrus County is still under a flood watch until 8 p.m., according to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office. During high tide, which took place around 3 p.m., water flooded around Pete's Pier.
The sheriff's office advises drivers to use caution while driving.
3:00 p.m. Wednesday, July 7
All watches and warnings have been discontinued for the Tampa Bay area.
1:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 7
Bayshore Boulevard has reopened between South Rome Avenue and West Swann Avenue.
11:42 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Police are shutting down the Bayshore Boulevard lanes heading into Tampa – the ones closest to the water – between South Rome Avenue and West Swann Avenue. The closure is being done as a precaution due to water levels as high tide approaches.
11:25 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
The following Hillsborough County parks are closed Wednesday due to high water levels.
- Upper Tampa Bay Conservation Park
- Lithia Springs Conservation Park (Swimming Area)
- Morris Bridge Conservation Park (Picnic Area)
11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Tropical Storm Elsa makes landfall in Taylor County along the north Florida gulf coast.
10:50 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Hernando County shuts down Pine Island Drive due to rising flood waters. Additional road closures are possible in the Hernando Beach and Weeki Wachee area as high tide approaches around noon.
10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Clearwater leaders say no swimming is allowed south of Pier 60 because of rough surf.
9:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
City of St. Pete shares how to report storm damage.
9:04 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
MacDill Air Force Base says some local areas are experiencing increased flooding. There are lane closures in certain areas around the base due to flooding and debris.
8:59 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
ZooTampa says it will reopen at noon on Wednesday after a full assessment of the grounds following Elsa.
8 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Tropical Storm Elsa continues its trek up Florida's west coast with 65-mph winds. It's expected to make landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast late Wednesday morning or early afternoon.
Tropical storm and storm surge warnings have been discontinued south of the middle of Longboat Key.
8 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) has just resumed service, including all its routes and paratransit offerings.
7:57 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Tampa International Airport is resuming regular operations at 8:30 a.m., which is earlier than expected. If you're flying today, you're urged to check your flight status with your airline.
7:12 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Crews in North Port are marking water levels in various neighborhoods to help track the rising and falling. At this time, the city said the water levels seem to be dropping. And there hasn't been any home or car damage reported yet.
7:09 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
A tree fell on Feather Drive near Mission Hills Boulevard in Clearwater, prompting a road closure. The city's parks and recreation department was dispatched to cut it.
7 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Hillsborough County will reopen its offices and facilities at noon on Wednesday.
Garbage, recycling, and yard waste collection are still scheduled for today but may be delayed.
Hillsborough County summer camps will be canceled Wednesday but are expected to resume Thursday.
6:20 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
With conditions improving after Tropical Storm Elsa, deputies are allowing access to the barrier islands and Pinellas County beaches beginning at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.
5:36 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office has put up temporary flashing stop signs at Front Street and Lutie Drive in Brandon, where a large tree fell across the road.
5:27 a.m. Wednesday July 7
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says at about 4:30 a.m. a tree fell onto a car in Brandon. Deputies say the driver was not hurt.
5:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
A huge tree branch came down onto a Clearwater condo. The owners are not home for another two weeks. The gentleman next door says he's concerned about leaking through the roof as rain continues, but no one was hurt when the branch came down.
5:07 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
The City of North Port says some of its roads are impacted due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
City leaders advise drivers to use caution while driving Wednesday morning. Leaders say at this time no homes have been affected in the area. And, crews are still assessing roadway impacts.
"Please give yourself some additional time if heading out this morning and understand that you may not be able to get to where you need. Turn around, don’t drown," a release said in part.
The following are the roads affected:
N Salford between Warrior & Roderigo
Chamberlain south of Price
Multiple areas on Tropicare
Sumter North of I-75
Ponce De Leon/Helliwell
Parts of Reisterstown
North Port Blvd between Chancellor and Biscayne
North Salford from Eldron and Lamarqe
Price between Sumter/Salford
N Salford from Tishman & Homewood
N Cranberry from Homewood & Saybrook
North Chamberlain through Boca Chica & Hamstead
North Port Blvd/Greenwood
4:55 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Tropical Storm Elsa weakens to 65 mph winds as it moves parallel to the Florida coast.
The Hurricane Warning for the west coast of Florida has been replaced with a Tropical Storm Warning south of Chassahowitzka to Egmont Key.
The Tropical Storm Warning has been discontinued south of Englewood.
4:15 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
The tornado warning for Hardee County has expired. The severe thunderstorm that prompted the warning has weakened below severe limits, the National Weather Service said.
3:52 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
A tornado warning is in effect until 4:15 a.m. for parts of Hardee County.
2:31 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Elsa brought an incredible amount of rain to the Tampa Bay area, especially across areas of Manatee and Sarasota counties.
2:24 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
The earlier tornado warning for DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties has been allowed to expire.
2:09 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
A tornado warning is in effect until 2:30 a.m. for parts of DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties.
1:52 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
Elsa has weakened back into a tropical storm with sustained winds of 70 mph as it approaches the Tampa Bay area. Heavy rains and gusty winds continue to impact Florida's west coast.
1:36 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
A flood warning is in effect until 3 p.m. Wednesday for Manatee County and eastern Sarasota County. About 3-6 inches of rain have fallen in the area.
1:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 7
The tornado warning for parts of Hernando, Pasco and Sumter counties has been allowed to expire as the severe threat has passed.
1:13 p.m. Wednesday, July 7
A tornado warning is in effect until 1:30 a.m. for southeastern Hernando County, northeastern Pasco County and southern Sumter County. The severe storm is located near Dade City, moving north at 40 mph.
12:42 p.m. Wednesday, July 7
Sarasota police report no major flooding issues in the city. Still, they are responding to calls for service.
11:25 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Sarasota city offices are scheduled to reopen Wednesday, with trash collections resuming as scheduled. Pickups that were canceled Tuesday will be collected Saturday.
10:47 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Hurricane Elsa continues moving north, just offshore of the Tampa Bay region. The National Hurricane Center says it's bringing heavy rain and gusty winds that are currently spreading inland across southwest and west-central Florida.
Meteorologists expect Elsa to move near or across parts of Florida's west coast late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.
As of 11 p.m., the storm was about 65 miles southwest of Tampa.
10:37 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch in effect until 8 a.m. for the Tampa Bay area.
10:36 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor warns Elsa is approaching the region. She is asking people to get home and stay inside overnight.
9:53 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Several branches in Pinellas and Pasco counties will delay opening tomorrow until 10 a.m.
9:13 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
The Clearwater Police Department earlier tweeted it will be prepared for any possible high-water rescues with two Humvees on the coastline.
8:38 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Some gusty tropical-storm-force winds well ahead of Hurricane Elsa have been reported across the Tampa Bay area. They include:
- Clearwater Beach: 47 mph
- Sarasota Bay: 42 mph
- Sarasota-Bradenton airport: 40 mph
7:43 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Elsa has regained hurricane strength southwest of the Tampa Bay area. It is a 75-mph storm, moving north at 14 mph.
6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Many Publix stores in the Tampa Bay area – including all in Pinellas County – plan to close early this evening in advance of Tropical Storm Elsa.
See the grocer's website for store locations near you.
6:18 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
A storm shelter will be open in Pasco County for anyone wanting to leave their home, the county announced.
The Mike Fasano Regional Hurricane Shelter, located at 11611 Denton Ave. in Hudson, will open at 6:30 p.m. Transportation will not be provided.
This shelter option should be considered a last resort, the county said. Consider reaching out to family, neighbors or friends first.
Anyone with questions or concerns can call the county at 727-847-2411.
5:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said people who live along the coastline should be closely monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa and heed warnings from local officials.
If given notice to evacuate, DeSantis said, take it seriously -- even if on a voluntary basis.
5 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
With 70-mph winds, Elsa remains a very strong tropical storm as of the National Hurricane Center's latest advisory. However, its pressure has dropped -- this is an indication the storm is strengthening.
For this reason, a hurricane warning remains in effect from Tampa Bay northward along the coastline in anticipation of a Category 1 hurricane affecting the area.
4:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
All AdventHealth Medical Group practices, AdventHealth Express Care at Walgreens and AdventHealth Centra Care in Tampa Bay close at 5 p.m. They will reopen for in-person visits at noon Wednesday, according to a news release.
4:44 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Commercial trash collection will be delayed Wednesday, according to the city of Tampa. It will resume at noon Wednesday, July 7, or as weather conditions improve.
Residential trash collection is set to resume as scheduled on Thursday, July 8.
3:46 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Busch Gardens Tampa Bay announced it will be closing its gates at 4 p.m. Tuesday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Elsa.
The decision was in an effort to "ensure the safety of our ambassadors, guests and animals," the theme park wrote.
An exact time for when the park will reopen has not yet been shared.
3:40 p.m. Tuesday, July 6:
Manatee County has announced its sandbag distribution sites are closing at 5 p.m. Tuesday. Click here for locations.
3:15 p.m. Tuesday, July 6:
Mayor Jane Castor says Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final, where the Lightning hope to take home the championship at Amalie Arena Wednesday, is not in jeopardy.
2:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 6:
A hurricane warning has been issued for the mouth of Tampa Bay north along the coast. Tropical Storm Elsa strengthened with 70-mph winds as it moved north along the west coast of Florida.
1:45 p.m. Tuesday, July 6:
A tornado watch has been issued until 11 p.m. Tuesday for the following Florida counties: Broward, Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Okeechobee, Osceola, Palm Beach, Pinellas, Polk, Sarasota, St. Lucie.
12:56 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority will start suspending transportation services at 3:30 p.m. Transportation will resume once the storm has passed and it is deemed safe.
Hillsborough Transit Authority will stop its services at 8 p.m. before resuming at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 7 if deemed safe.
12:31 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Starting at 6 p.m., police are restricting access to Clearwater Beach through the Memorial Causeway. Only people who live or own a business on the beach will be allowed to travel across the bridge.
12:10 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
The St. Pete Pier will close at 2 p.m. and remain closed until further notice.
12:07 p.m. Tuesday, July 6
Venice City Hall and other city buildings will be closed Wednesday, July 7 due to Tropical Storm Elsa. The city says trash, recyclables and yard waste will be pick up as usual on Wednesday.
11:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Metropolitan Ministries closes at noon Tuesday ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
11:27 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Tampa General Hospital will remain open to patients, but its offices will close at 4 p.m. ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
11:21 a.m. Tuesday July 6
Clearwater Marine Aquarium will close at 5 p.m. today as it prepares for Tropical Storm Elsa. It plans to reopen at 9 a.m. Wednesday, but that could change depending on the impact of the storm.
11:15 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Starting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, all bridges from Dunedin all the way down to Pass-a-Grille Beach will be restricted access, according to Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri. Authorities will reopen the bridges at 7 a.m. Wednesday, July 7 depending on storm damage.
11:09 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Pasco County declares a local state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa. The county is currently under a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning.
10:59 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Citrus County announces voluntary evacuation for the west side of US-19 ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
10:45 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
The latest NHC advisory shows Elsa is producing tropical-storm-force gusts over the Florida Keys and maintaining intensity at 60 mph. Strengthening is expected as it tracks north over the eastern Gulf all the way up to landfall along the north Florida Gulf coast.
10:36 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Hillsborough County partially activates its Emergency Operations Center in response to Tropical Storm Elsa.
8:25 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Tampa International Airport will suspend commercial operations at 5 p.m. tonight ahead of the storm. Operations are set to resume at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
8:20 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Gov. Ron DeSantis gives an update on Tropical Storm Elsa from the State Emergency Operations Center in Tallahassee.
8:15 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
The City of Brooksville declares a local state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
8 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
The latest NHC advisory shows Elsa is producing tropical-storm-force gusts in Key West and maintaining intensity at 60 mph. Strengthening is expected as it tracks north over the eastern Gulf all the way up to landfall.
7:19 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
The City of Tampa activates its emergency hotline to answer questions ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
Tampa's Emergency Hotline will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July
6 to answer questions and share preparedness information with the public in
response to Tropical Storm Elsa. The hotline can be reached at: 1-833-TPA-INFO (872-4636).
6:14 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
Due to the weather, the SpaceX Cargo Dragon undocking is now planned for no earlier than July 7.
5 a.m. Tuesday, July 6
A hurricane watch has been issued for parts of Tampa Bay from Egmont Key to Steinhatchee River as Tropical Storm Elsa nears the Florida Keys.
It is about 270 miles south of Tampa with maximum sustained winds at 60 mph.
NHC says winds are forecast to increase to 70 mph as it approaches our coast tonight. Tropical Storm conditions are expected to arrive late this afternoon.
11:00 p.m. Monday, July 5
Tropical Storm Elsa is once again over open water as the storm leaves Cuba behind and continues its trek toward Florida. As of 11 p.m. Monday, Elsa has intensified to sustained winds of 60-mph and is moving north-northwest at 12 mph.
NHC reports the tropical storm is expected to move across the Florida Straits overnight Monday night, passing near the Florida Keys early Tuesday morning.
10:04 p.m. Monday, July 5
The city of Clearwater is canceling summer camps for kids at its recreation centers for both Tuesday and Wednesday. Recreational programming for Tuesday evening will also be halted due to Tropical Storm Elsa.
9:00 p.m. Monday, July 5
As of Monday night, Citrus County Schools says all of its district offices and school sites will be open on Tuesday. A decision on having kids in class on Wednesday has yet to be made.
8:30 p.m. Monday, July 5
The Pinellas County Consumer Protection is warning residents of possible price gouging as many in the Tampa Bay area prepare for impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa.
Residents and visitors are protected by the state's price-gouging law because Pinellas County is included in the governor's state of emergency declaration for the tropical storm.
The county encourages residents who suspect price gouging to report it in one of the following ways:
- On the county's website
- Attorney General's hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM.
8:00 p.m. Monday, July 5
Tropical Storm Elsa is set to emerge from the coast of Cuba Monday night and head into the Florida Straits. The storm is currently packing 50-mph winds as it makes its trek toward Key West but some restrengthening is forecast as the storm moves over open water.
6:06 p.m. Monday, July 5
Clearwater Marine Aquarium announced it would stay open Tuesday but actively monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa. On Wednesday, the aquarium says it will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mermaids will be onsite from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. and again from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
5:15 p.m. Monday, July 5
Tampa Bay's tropical storm warning now includes Citrus County, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, Manatee County and Sarasota County. A storm surge warning now includes all of Pinellas County, coastal Citrus County, Hernando County, Hillsborough County, Manatee County and Sarasota County.
5:05 p.m. Monday, July 5
The Tampa Bay Rays' three-game series against the Cleveland Indians at Tropicana Field has been adjusted, the MLB said.
The game on Tuesday, July 6 has been rescheduled as a traditional single-admission doubleheader on Wednesday, July 7 at 12:10 p.m. Game 2 will begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of Game 1.
5 p.m. Monday, July 5
No changes to track for Tropical Storm Elsa. Elsa is expected to intensify to near 65 mph Tuesday afternoon. Tropical-storm-force winds extend 70 miles out from the center of the storm.
4:36 p.m. Monday, July 5
ZooTampa said it would be closed Tuesday, July 6 due to the potential impacts of Tropical Storm Elsa. The zoo says it will be moving its larger animals into their "night houses," which are made to withstand major storms.
4:18 p.m. Monday, July 5
Hillsborough County Schools announced it would be shutting its doors at 1 p.m. on Tuesday and remain closed on Wednesday. School officials expect to reopen on Thursday.
4 p.m. Monday, July 5
Sarasota Parks & Recreation District’s pools, summer camps and all programming are "on hold" starting Tuesday, July 6, the city said. The following recreational facilities have been closed:
- Arlington Park and Aquatic Complex, 2650 Waldemere St.
- Lido Pool, 400 Benjamin Franklin Dr.
- Nature Trails at Bobby Jones Golf Club, 1000 Circus Blvd.
- Payne Park Tennis Center, 2050 Adams Ln.
- Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, 1845 34th St.
- Bayfront Community Center, 803 N. Tamiami Tr.
- Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Tr.
3:40 p.m. Monday, July 5
The immersive drone light show planned for July 6 at St. Pete Pier has been rescheduled for Saturday, July 31.
3:30 p.m. Monday, July 5
All Pasco County public schools and offices will close on Tuesday, July 6 at 3 p.m. and will remain closed all day Wednesday, July 7. School-based activities/events planned for the afternoon of Tuesday and Wednesday will also be canceled.
2:20 p.m. Monday, July 5
The city of Brooksville declared a local state of emergency and a voluntary evacuation order was put in place for coastal Zone A, mobile homes and low-lying areas. The Enrichment Center (ECI) in Brooksvillewill open at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 6, as a shelter for residents, the city said. The Enrichment Center is located at 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd.
Tuesday night's city council meeting has been rescheduled for July 12.
2:00 p.m. Monday, July 5
Tropical Storm Elsa makes landfall on the southern coast of Cuba. The storm's maximum sustained winds dropped to 60-mph.
1:52 p.m. Monday, July 5
The Florida Forest Service announced all campgrounds and recreation areas in state forests that were in the path of Tropical Storm Elsa would be closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
12:26 p.m. Monday, July 5
Pinellas County Schools has announced it will be closed Tuesday, July 6 and Wednesday, July 7. All summer programs, including after-school care, will be canceled on those days. The school district said it plans on being fully operational by Thursday, July 8.
11:26 a.m. Monday, July 5
The Pasco Sheriff's Office provided more than 650 sandbags to people in the area on Monday.
11:15 a.m. Monday, July 5
Tropical storm warnings have been extended north along the west coast of Florida and now include the Tampa Bay area.
10:28 a.m. Monday, July 5
Hernando County declared a state of emergency in response to the potential impacts of Tropical Storm Elsa. Within the declaration was a voluntary evacuation order for coastal areas. A general population, special needs and pet-friendly shelter will open 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 6 at the Enrichment Center, 800 John Gary Grubbs Boulevard, for people who live in the evacuation zone.
To find out where your evacuation zone is, click here.
10:00 a.m. Monday, July 5
A flood watch was issued for Tampa Bay until 4 a.m. on Wednesday.
9:52 a.m. Monday, July 5
The Hardee County School District has announced it will be closed on Tuesday, July 6, as district staff monitors the track and forecast of Elsa. Any decision about whether to reopen on Wednesday, July 7, will be made by 3 p.m. Tuesday, July 6.
9:06 a.m. Monday, July 5
Venice city leaders shut down Humphris Park ahead of the expected wind and rain from Tropical Storm Elsa.
7:50 a.m. Monday, July 5
Tropical Storm Elsa nears landfall in west-central Cuba.
5 a.m. Monday, July 5
Elsa remains south of Cuba with maximum sustained winds near 65 mph.
Some strengthening is possible before Elsa moves over Cuba later today, followed by some weakening while the center moves over land. Slight restrengthening is forecast after Elsa moves over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
Parts of the Tampa Bay area remain under a Tropical Storm Surge Watch and Storm Surge Warning.
10:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4
President Joe Biden approves Florida's Emergency Declaration.
"The President's action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in the counties of Charlotte, Citrus, Collier, DeSoto, Hardee, Hernando, Hillsborough, Lee, Levy, Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota," a release from the White House said.
7 p.m. Sunday, July 4
Tropical storm watch issued for parts of the west coast of Florida, including the Tampa Bay area. A storm surge watch has also been issued for the area.
4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 4
Pinellas County leaders adopt a local state of emergency ahead of potential impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa.
4:20 p.m. Sunday, July 4
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor says the city "is ready" for any impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa. The city's "Boom by the Bay" is still scheduled for Sunday as planned.
2:05 p.m. Sunday, July 4
MacDill Air Force Base sticks outward toward Tampa Bay, which is good for flight traffic but not when a tropical storm threatens.
Leaders there announced Sunday afternoon that KC-135s from the 6th Air Refueling Wing are evacuating to McConnell Air Force Base, located in Wichita, Kansas, as a precaution.
They will return once the storm passes the area.
1:50 p.m. Sunday, July 4
Elsa continues to hold onto tropical storm strength as it makes a pass north of Jamaica, but its expected approach to Florida tomorrow has prompted a warning for the Keys.
As of 2 p.m. Sunday, Elsa has 60-mph sustained winds and is moving northwest at 14 mph. The National Hurricane Center says the storm is making its way toward Cuba.
1:10 p.m. Sunday, July 4
Additional counties and cities have announced sandbag locations for those interested. They do require people to show their ID to verify they live in the dsignated county.
12:54 p.m. Sunday, July 4
Manatee County declared a local state of emergency ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
"It’s important for the public to monitor the storm and prepare for a possible tropical storm impacting our area,” Public Safety Director Jacob Saur said in a statement. “This will largely be a rain event but as the ground is already saturated, trees can easily topple from the winds produced by tropical storms in our area."
The emergency order allows the county to better respond to the storm, the county says.
11 a.m. Sunday, July 4
Tropical Storm Elsa weakened somewhat but remains a strong, 60-mph tropical cyclone, according to the National Hurricane Center's latest update. A tropical storm warning now extends from Craig Key westward to the Dry Tortugas in the Florida Keys.
A tropical storm watch is in effect for the state's southwest coast from Flamingo northward to Bonita Beach.
10:41 a.m. Sunday, July 4
State officials activated Florida's emergency operations center to better communicate information ahead of possible impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa. People are advised to have a supply kit ready to go, just in case.
9:04 a.m. Sunday, July 4
The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority continues to run its buses but announced it will suspend service if winds from Tropical Storm Elsa reach 40 mph.
“The safety of our drivers and passengers is always our top priority at PSTA. We are committed to providing service, as long as it’s safe to do so,” Brad Miller, the CEO of PSTA said in a news release. “As we keep a close watch on Tropical Storm Eta’s path, we will continue to send updates to keep our community informed.”
8 a.m. Sunday, July 4
Tropical Storm Elsa has been holding steady Sunday morning as a 65-mph storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is bringing heavy rainfall to portions of Jamaica.
A tropical storm watch remains in effect for the Florida Keys, where tropical storm conditions could impact this portion of the state first.
10:50 p.m. Saturday, July 3
Tropical Storm Elsa is battering the southern coasts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, downing trees and blowing off roofs as it speeds through the Caribbean, killing at least three people, the Associated Press reported.
The storm is forecast to hit Cuba next on a path that would take it to Florida.
7:20 p.m. Saturday, July 3
Gulfport city leaders advise people to prepare for potential flood impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa.
Leaders say high winds, rain and flooding or storm surge may affect those living in low-lying or flood-prone areas during Tuesday's 10 a.m. high tide. And leaders advised boaters to be prepared.
Self-serve sandbags are available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at the 49th Street Neighborhood Center on 49th Street South. There's a 10-bag limit.
The city's information call center opens 8 a.m. Sunday. Call 727-893-1000 if you have storm preparedness questions.
5 p.m. Saturday, July 3
A tropical storm watch was issued for the Florida Keys as Elsa continues its path. Tampa Bay remains in the cone of uncertainty.
3:45 p.m. Saturday, July 3
Venice city leaders say the 9 p.m. July 4 fireworks show is still scheduled as planned at the South Jetty.
3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 3
July 4 celebrations in St. Petersburg are still on, according to Mayor Rick Kriseman. Regarding Tropical Storm Elsa, "still lots of uncertainty, but no reason to stress right now," Kriseman tweeted. "July 4th still a go in St. Pete," he continued in part.
2:47 p.m. Saturday, July 3
Classes at the University of South Florida will go remote Tuesday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Elsa, the university announced.
1:54 p.m. Saturday, July 3
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody activated the state's price gouging hotline in advance of Tropical Storm Elsa. It allows people to send reports of extreme price increases on essential commodities, such as food, water, gas and hotel rooms.
The number is 866-966-7226.
"It is important that Floridians keep an eye on Tropical Storm Elsa and make preparations now should the storm impact our state," Moody said in a statement. "I have activated the Price Gouging Hotline to help Floridians purchasing essential commodities and ask that anyone who sees outrageous price increases on essential items please report it to our office immediately."
12:03 p.m. Saturday, July 3
The Coast Guard Captain of the Port (COTP) St. Petersburg has set Port Condition X-ray at noon for the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Manatee, according to a news release. Officials anticipate sustained gale force winds from Tropical Storm Elsa within 48 hours.
The ports and facilities remain open to all commerical traffic at this time.
11:05 a.m. Saturday, July 3
Gov. Ron DeSantis, speaking Saturday morning in Surfside as search efforts are ongoing, announced a state of emergency for several Florida counties ahead of Tropical Storm Elsa.
11 a.m. Saturday, July 3
Elsa has been on a weakening trend overnight and now is a tropical storm, according to the hurricane center's latest advisory. Still, a 70-mph system remains on the stronger end of tropical systems.
10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 3
Tampa crews are working to reduce the water level in several retention ponds to limit impacts from localized flooding that could be caused by Hurricane Elsa. It's also a reminder for people to check their storm drains for any debris to ensure rainwater can flow through.
10 a.m. Saturday, July 3
People in Pinellas Park can get up to 10 sandbags each with a water bill and/or valid driver's license showing they live in Pinellas Park.
The following locations are open from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday:
- Broderick Park: 6101 66th Ave N.
- Helen Howarth Park: 6301 94th Ave N.
- Pinebrook Park: 7202 118th Ave N.
8 a.m. Saturday, July 3
There are no significant changes with the National Hurricane Center's 8 a.m. advisory on Hurricane Elsa. It remains a 75-mph storm speeding toward the west-northwest at 31 mph.
Conditions are expected to deteriorate during the next several hours over the southern coast of Hispaniola, forecasters said.
5 a.m. Saturday, July 3
Hurricane Elsa appears less organized this morning as it continues to move rapidly into the Caribbean.
The National Hurricane Center says there is an increasing risk of storm surge, wind, and rainfall impacts beginning Monday in the Florida Keys and spreading northward along the Florida peninsula through Tuesday.
11 p.m. Friday, July 2
Hurricane Elsa has weakened slightly but is expected to get stronger as it moves across the easter Caribbean Sea throughout the evening.
5 p.m. Friday, July 2
Hurricane Elsa is moving through the eastern Caribbean Sea, prompting a hurricane watch for eastern Cuba and a hurricane warning for Jamaica.
2 p.m. Friday, July 2
Hurricane Elsa has grown stronger, although it remains a Category 1 storm, as it moves into the eastern Caribbean Sea. Elsa is now packing 85-mph sustained winds and moving west-northwest at almost 29 mph.
1:30 p.m. Friday, July 2
"Boom by the Bay is on," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor has announced.
The event is still expected to kick off at 5 p.m. Sunday, July 4, with a boat parade and the blessing of the fleet along the Tampa Riverwalk, despite the storm that may follow.
11:42 a.m. Friday, July 2
The Coast Guard is setting port condition Whiskey starting at noon for the ports of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Manatee, and Ft. Myers due to the expectation of sustained gale force winds of 25 mph and gusts up to 40 mph generated from Hurricane Elsa that may arrive within 72 hours.
11 a.m. Friday, July 2
The National Hurricane Center has increased the forecasted winds of Hurricane Elsa in its newest update. Winds are now expected to reach 80 mph this afternoon through Saturday. While hurricane-force winds will continue Sunday morning, winds are expected to diminish a bit to around 65 mph by Sunday afternoon.
Sometime Monday, Elsa will begin to enter the Florida Straights. This is where uncertainty remains. The storm may continue into the Gulf of Mexico or start to turn to the Atlantic.
If the storm moves far enough west into the Gulf of Mexico or east into the Atlantic, impacts in Tampa Bay will be less.
If the storm remains more on the eastern side of the Gulf of Mexico, impacts for Tampa Bay will be higher.
8 a.m. Friday, July 2
The National Hurricane Center has upgraded Elsa to a Category 1 hurricane, making it the first hurricane of the year. Sustained winds of 75 mph have been reported as Elsa moves about 20 miles west-southwest of Barbados.
5 a.m. Friday, July 2
The latest forecast track from the National Hurricane Center shows Tropical Storm Elsa has slightly strengthened as it moves quickly toward the west-northwest with sustained winds of 60 mph. Portions of the Lesser Antilles will soon see tropical storm conditions later this morning.
Winds now forecast in the cone to near hurricane strength at 70 mph by tomorrow. Then it weakens a bit, but we can't rule out hurricane strength conditions in the Gulf.
Tampa Bay remains in the cone, but chances for a shift to the east or farther west are still possible.
11 p.m. Thursday, July 1
The National Hurricane Center says Thursday evening that Tropical Storm Elsa is rapidly moving west-northwest in the Atlantic and could end up in the Gulf of Mexico.
Tropical Storm Elsa currently has sustained winds of 50 mph. It is about 260 miles east-southeast of Barbados. The storm is moving west-northwest at 26 mph.
5 p.m. Thursday, July 1
Tropical Storm Elsa currently has sustained winds of 45 mph. It is about 410 miles east-southeast of Barbados. The storm is moving rapidly west-northwest at 29 mph.
Models continue to vary on how much this system develops as it tracks across the Caribbean. Some forecast models strengthen the system and track it toward Hispaniola and Cuba, then through the Gulf of Mexico where a Florida landfall is possible.
Other models take it farther west, while some take it into the Atlantic.
Some models also develop the storm to near hurricane-strength winds, which begin at 74 mph. However, the National Hurricane Center continues to limit the storm's winds to a maximum of 60 mph winds over the next 5 days.
As far as potential Tampa Bay impacts, it's just too early as the track, and the intensity of Elsa is still uncertain. If it survives its track through the Caribbean, it could potentially get into the Gulf of Mexico early next week.
2:15 p.m. Thursday, July 1
Tropical Storm Elsa currently has sustained winds of 45 mph. It is about 600 miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands. The storm is moving west-northwest at 28 mph.
Models vary on how much this system develops as it tracks across the Caribbean. Some forecast models strengthen the system and track it toward Hispaniola and Cuba, then through the Gulf of Mexico where a Florida landfall is possible.
Other models take it farther west, while some take it into the Atlantic.
As far as potential Tampa Bay impacts, it's just too early as the track, and the intensity of Elsa is still uncertain. If it survives its track through the Caribbean, it could potentially get into the Gulf of Mexico early next week.
1:30 p.m. Thursday, July 1
As Tropical Storm Elsa continues to make its approach toward the U.S., the City of Brooksville is looking to get a leg up on preparations.
The Department of Public Works announced it will be opening a self-service sandbag site beginning July 2 at 600 South Brooksville Avenue.
The site will be open 24-hours a day and provide bags, sand and shovels to those who looking to stock up ahead of the storm.
You will be required to fill and transport your own sandbags.
For more information, click here.
7 a.m. Thursday, July 1
Starting Thursday, Florida drivers can now use their hazards while driving during bad weather.
The new allowance was part of a transportation bill Gov. Ron DeSantis signed.
AAA Spokesperson Mark Jenkins feels that although drivers are now allowed to drive with hazardous lights on, they still shouldn't use them being that they are ultimately used for stranded cars.
Before the new law, using hazard lights while driving in bad weather was illegal in Florida.
Evacuation zone and storm surge maps
If an evacuation order is issued for your area, do you know which zone you're inside or where you're supposed to go?
The Florida Division of Emergency Management has a map for each county posted on its website, showing generalized evacuation zones and accessible routes.
Remember, these maps are posted as a reference. Any specific evacuation order is issued by local emergency managers.
Find the nearest shelter to you: Click here
The two biggest evacuation routes, if necessary, are I-75 north to the Georgia state line and I-4 into Orlando. In some evacuation situations, the highways will go into "contraflow," meaning traffic in all lanes moves in the same direction.
For more information, click here.
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