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Hurricane Elsa: Live coverage as storm approaches Florida

Hurricane conditions are expected within the warned area, including Tampa Bay, this evening.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Elsa has strengthened further and regained its hurricane status as it makes an approach to the Tampa Bay area.

As of the 8 p.m. Tuesday advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Elsa has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, with higher gusts, and is moving north at 14 mph. 

A hurricane warning remains in effect for the west coast of Florida from Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River. This includes the Tampa Bay area, including Tampa and St. Petersburg, and coastal communities northward. 

A tornado watch is in effect for the Tampa Bay area until 11 p.m. Tuesday.

Breakdown of tropical storm alerts impacting the Tampa Bay area

Latest timing of tropical threats for the Tampa Bay area:

  • Heavy rain: Initial bands firing up ahead of the storm Tuesday afternoon remain isolated, but the heaviest and potential flooding rain moves in from south to north through about 4 a.m. Wednesday. Rounds of rain will follow behind through sunrise.
  • Gusty winds: Peak wind (at least 74 mph) will be through 12 a.m. Wednesday.
  • Tornado: A tornado watch is in effect until 11 p.m. for Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties southward. This is common with tropical systems. The greatest risk runs from Tuesday evening into the nighttime hours.
  • Storm Surge: After 12 a.m. Wednesday through sunrise. Expect 3-5 feet.
  • 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. (Find your evacuation zone)
  • Citrus County announced a voluntary evacuation for the west side of US-19 ahead of Hurricane Elsa.

Elsa became the first hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season as a Category 1 on July 2. It then lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm. 

It regained hurricane strength as of the 8 p.m. Tuesday advisory.

Elsa is currently 100 miles south-southwest of Tampa.

LIVE BLOGTracking Hurricane Elsa

Tropical-storm-force winds (39+ mph) will likely start to develop in the Tampa Bay area during the early evening. Southern counties, like Sarasota and Manatee, will be the first to experience the stronger winds.

Winds from Elsa are expected to increase during the evening Tuesday, first along the coastline before spreading inland. The highest winds, including gusts, will be along the immediate coastline.

However, some significant gusts may occur along the Interstate 75 corridor.

A storm surge warning is in effect for all coastal areas in our viewing area. This includes all counties from Sarasota north to Citrus County. 

A storm surge of 3-5 feet is expected.

Rain totals are expected to reach 2-4 inches, with some locations seeing more than 6 inches.

There will also be a tornado risk, mainly during the afternoon and evening.

The following watches and warnings are now in effect:

  • West coast of Florida from Bonita Beach to the Aucilla River, including Tampa Bay
  • Egmont Key to the Steinhatchee River, Florida
  • The Dry Tortugas
  • West coast of Florida from Flamingo to south of Egmont Key
  • West coast of Florida north of Steinhatchee River to Ochlockonee River
  • Coast of Georgia from the Mouth of the St. Marys River to Altamaha Sound
  • West of the Aucilla River to the Ochlockonee River, Florida
  • Mouth of St. Marys River to South Santee River, South Carolina

Watch the storm updates closely as the week progresses. Our 10 Tampa Bay team of meteorologists will be providing updates around the clock.

> STAY INFORMED: If you have a Smart TV, add our Roku or Fire TV apps to stream our hurricane live tracker. Then, download our free 10 Tampa Bay mobile app to get urgent alerts sent directly to your phone to keep your family safe.

10 Tampa Bay is your Hurricane Headquarters:

RELATED: Still need insurance as Hurricane Elsa approaches? Here’s what you need to know

RELATED: Here’s the difference between hurricane/tropical storm watches and warnings


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