Everything about the Tropical Elsa Storm in Florida
On July 1st, a severe category one hurricane formed in the Atlantic Ocean moving with sustained winds of 70 mph. Usually, hurricanes in the United States of America start in late August, however, the Tropical Elsa Storm came early making it the first hurricane of the season. It started in the Caribbean Islands killing at least three people.
Satelite image of the Tropical Elsa storm from cnet.com
According to a forecast from the National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the state of Florida began to actively prepare to be the next target of the storm. Governor Ron DeSantis issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency in thirty-three (33) counties. On Tuesday, 6th of July, the storm surged through Florida's key west leaving multiple fatalities and approximately 126 people unaccounted for in its wake.
Fifteen people were rescued, after a crew on a bulk carrier ship alerted the coast guard. Tampa international airport has reopened after temporarily halting all operations. They have however warned people of potential delays or flight postponement that can occur as a result of the storm. The impact of the heavy wind has been quite minimal.
After the landfall on Wednesday, over 20,000 people have been left without power. In some parts of Tampa, Florida, there are fallen trees and debris on the road. In Jacksonville, reports show that one person has been killed and at least 10 people injured as the storm reached south east Georgia.
From the weather forecast, it is expected that the storm will continue inwards of Florida at a maximum sustained wind of 65mph. President Joe Biden has been briefed about the potential impact of the storm in Florida and across other states. He also spoke with the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding their contingency plan.
Photo of heavy flooding in Florida from US News
The American Red Cross has also been alert to work hand in hand with the shelters occupied by over 200 people who escaped from the storm on Tuesday night. In the city of North Port, the people have been cautioned by the city leader to avoid driving or being on the road for the main time as a result of the heavy flooding.
On the state level, the governor of Florida has taken steps to ensure that the casualties resulting from the heavy flooding are minimized to a large extent. The Florida national guard has over two hundred and fifty (250) guardsmen on standby and is ready to deploy more in the event of another landslide. At least five counties in the state have opened shelters in the event of an evacuation and two others have issued voluntary evacuation.
The public department has been working tirelessly by cutting down the branches and clearing the debris off the road. All school-related summer programs and city-owned pools have also been temporarily closed. In Gainesville, the University of Florida cancelled all classes in anticipation of the storm. At the moment, there is a storm warning for 12 counties along the coastal area.
Residents have been advised to keep track of the storm by checking the weather forecast. The governor also cautioned people to listen to local authorities regarding evacuation if deemed necessary. Preparations should be made and they have been informed to get ready for power outages that could accompany the storm. Those who have been cutting down trees with the use of generators have been warned to ensure that the exhaust goes out to prevent death by carbon monoxide poisoning.
The city of Tampa has activated an emergency hotline to help residents in response to the Tropical Elsa storm. The hotline number is 1- 833- TPA- INFO. They can also send TAMPAREADY to 888-777.
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