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As many of you are aware, hurricane Elsa has been making its way up through the Gulf of Mexico, teetering on and off as a Category 1 hurricane to tropical storm. Last night around midnight is when the Tampa area --where I live-- started to see the worst of it, and thankfully, I was over-prepared.
Here's a recap of what I experienced before and during the storm:
The news channels were warning that Elsa could bring flooding up to 5 feet and winds up to 75 mph, so I, with the help of my boyfriend, made some last minute plans accordingly.
Armed with my emergency kit, sandbags lining the entryways and shutters protecting the windows, I felt much more secure this year than previous. Though I don't live in a "flood zone," with how bad storms have been lately, I always opt for a yearly policy of flood insurance just in case the sandbags aren't enough.
With the flood insurance in place for added peace-of-mind, I felt as though I was as ready as I could be for this Cat 1 hurricane. If it was anything worse, I would have opted to leave and go farther inland, but as no evacuation warnings were in place for my area, I stayed.
Overall, for my area, the storm was shockingly unremarkable. I didn't experience any electric outages, flooding, flying debris or other major consequences often seen with hurricanes. If I didn't know it was a hurricane I would have said it was no worse than a typical afternoon storm in Florida.
A large dead tree in my backyard did fall over with the first big gust of wind that came through -- but that happened way before the worst of it even hit the area. Other than that, I saw only mild amounts of rain and hardly any wind gusts at all. I don't even recall hearing any thunder.
That being said, I can only speak for my particular area, and I think we got lucky to miss the worst of it. I definitely wouldn't recommend riding out a hurricane, no matter the category, to anyone because even category 1 hurricanes can become problematic and deadly.
Elsa has been causing high tides and flooding in several coastal areas including Tarpon Springs. Here's a post by the Tarpon Springs City Hall Facebook page addressing the higher-than-normal tides in the town:
Farther south in the Florida Keys, there has been an ongoing search and rescue happening with some individuals who got swept out to sea.
Elsa is now north of Gainesville, yet it remains to be very dark and dreary in the Tampa area. I'm thankful that the worst of Elsa is over and it has since turned back into a tropical storm, but hurricane season is only just starting...
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