On Tuesday morning, the weather in South Florida was getting worse as tropical storm Elsa began whipping the Florida Keys, making it difficult to find survivors of the condom crash and causing a storm hour on the peninsula’s upper Gulf coast.
In addition to wind and heavy rain, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami warned of life-threatening hurricanes, floods, and isolated tornadoes. Hurricane watches were released along the long coast from Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River at the mouth of Tam Bay in the Big Bend area of Florida.
The Tam region is very vulnerable to storm surges because seawater and the Gulf of Tam are very shallow, experts say.
In the beach towns of the barrier island on the Persian Gulf coast, this was the norm, as several shutters or plywood slabs were raised. Although free sandbags were being distributed in several locations and no evacuation order had been issued, a limited number of storm homes opened in at least four counties in Tam Bay on Tuesday morning.
Nancy Brindley, 85, who lives on the seafront, built in 1923, said she had experienced 34 previous tropical cyclones and would not put shutters on her windows. His main concern is what will happen to the sand on the adjacent beach and the sand dunes that protect his house and others. He continues the storm.
“The main concern here is that if it doesn’t accelerate and decides to stop, there will be huge erosion,” he said.
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Friends Chris Wirtz, 47, and Brendan Peregrin, 44, stayed with their families at a seaside hotel. They are both from the town of Tam, 40 miles from the bay, and have experienced storms many times.
“Before he left, we knew he was coming,” Virtz said.
Peregrin said the two families have been coming to the beach in Pinellas County for 10 years. He noted that if the power supply goes out, there is an abundant supply for cooking and a charcoal grill.
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“We can hunker for a few days,” Peregrin said.
Still, some people had no chance. Annie Jones, 51, has lived on the shores of the Persian Gulf all her life. He was buying ice and groceries at a local grocery store before the storm.
“I’ve seen it over the years and decided to upload it,” Jones said. “I thought it was best to beat the crowd. My vision will be preceded.”
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Rain gangs were expected to reach Surfside on the Atlantic coast of Florida and sink rocks south of the Champlain Towers South, which collapsed on June 24, killing at least 32 people. Officials said search-and-rescue crews worked in the rain to search for more than 100 people listed as missing, but should use them when lightning strikes are possible.
Elsa’s maximum winds were 60 miles per hour early Tuesday. A gradual consolidation is forecast for Tuesday night, and it could be close to the strength of a hurricane until Elsa reaches Florida. Its core was about 65 miles west of Key West, Florida, and 215 miles south of Tam. It continues to move northwest at a speed of 10 miles per hour.
Hurricanes are forecast across South Florida on Tuesday morning and across the peninsula in the upper part of the day, according to the forecast.
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency, Elsa covered dozens of counties expected to have a quick ssage on Wednesday, and President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state ahead of the storm.
Forecasters predict that Elsa will hit the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina after Florida. As with much of the South Carolina coast, the coasts of Georgia were also under tropical storms. Forecasters say tornadoes could hit East Carolina and Virginia as Elsa moves north.
The storm’s rise could typically reach 5 feet off land in the Tam Bay area if Elsa is in high water flow, forecasters said. Commander Colonel Ben Jonsson said only critical personnel were allowed on Tuesday morning at MacDill Air Force Base, located along the Gulf of South Tam Peninsula.
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The full international airport is scheduled to close on Tuesday at 5 p.m.
At a briefing on Tuesday morning, DeSantis reminded residents not to pay attention to what Tropical Storm Elsa called a “cone of concern” because the storm’s “possibilities are expected outside this area.”
“And if you look at how the storm turned east,” DeSantis said. “So most of the rain falls from the center of the storm to the east.”
Elsa’s shift to the west hit the lower Florida Keys directly, but there was still plenty of rain and wind on the islands. Tropical storm warnings range from Craig Key to Florida Keys to Dry Tortoise and from Flamingo to the west coast of Florida to the Ochlockonee River.
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Cuban officials have evacuated 180,000 people, with the possibility of severe flooding already engulfing the Caribbean islands, killing at least three people. But Elsa spent most of Sunday and Monday parallel to the southern coast of Cuba, depriving much of the island of significant impact.
Elsa is the fifth-highest-named hurricane on the record, said Brian McNoldi, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.