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It’s a quiet day after Elsa in Tampa Bay

The storm left thousands without power and led to flight cancellations across the region
John Pack, 52, fishes from the Dunedin Causeway following Tropical Storm Elsa Wednesday.
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John Pack, 52, fishes from the Dunedin Causeway following Tropical Storm Elsa Wednesday. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]
Published Jul. 7
Updated Jul. 7

Reporting an outage: How to notify Duke Energy and Tampa Electric

What’s closed today: Including schools, government buildings and entertainment

Downgraded from its hurricane status, Tropical Storm Elsa had passed the Tampa Bay area and was making landfall in Florida’s Taylor County, according to the 11 a.m. advisory. The storm initially left more than 15,400 Tampa Electric Co. customers and 4,000 Duke Energy customers without power, the majority of whom were in Tampa Bay. But most customers had their power restored by early morning.

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VIDEO RECAP: ELSA’S EFFECTS IN TAMPA BAY

2 p.m. Some flooding in north Florida, as Elsa moves on

In Steinhatchee, not far from where Elsa came ashore, there was some flooding, but no worse than the town typically sees from heavy rain, said Melissa Roper, whose family owns Off The Clock Fisheries and Marina along the Steinhatchee River. “It’s definitely a lot better than expected considering it was supposed to be a hurricane that hit,” Roper said. “We’re pretty fortunate.”

Elsa’s center was forecast to cross into southeast Georgia on Wednesday afternoon, bringing a risk of flooding from an anticipated 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters) of rain. The storm was forecast to move into South Carolina early Thursday, and by Friday its effects could be felt as far north as New England.

- Associated Press

1:33 p.m. Bayshore Blvd. reopens

Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa, between Rome and Swann avenues, has reopened, city officials said. The waterfront street had briefly closed due to wind and high water during high tide.

12:38 p.m. Watching the big board at Tampa International airport

Rudolph Perez and his daughter Elianna, 5, at Tampa International Airport on July 7, 2021. They were waiting for a flight home to Delaware, after Tropical Storm Elsa had canceled their original flight.
Rudolph Perez and his daughter Elianna, 5, at Tampa International Airport on July 7, 2021. They were waiting for a flight home to Delaware, after Tropical Storm Elsa had canceled their original flight. [ ANASTASIA DAWSON | Tampa Bay Times ]

By late morning, hundreds of travelers filled the terminal lounge at Tampa International Airport, attempting to tune out from the chaos with closed eyes and earbuds or staring at the big board of flight delays, willing their plane to come take them away. At the Chick-fil-a, though, Rudolph Perez and his 5-year-old daughter Elianna were all smiles as they dunked chicken nuggets from behind a giant duffel bag overflowing with beach towels and flip flops.

The two were on their way back home to Wilmington, Delaware after a week-long vacation to visit Elianna’s mom at her home in Ruskin. It was the perfect trip after a year spent at home to avoid the coronavirus, the 32-year-old barber said. He beamed with pride while scrolling photos of his brave daughter posing with boa constrictors and a baby alligator at a local zoo. But Perez said he couldn’t help but get nervous when the governor placed Tampa Bay under a state of emergency, and then the storm watches rolled in.

Then came the tornado warnings and news their 8 a.m. flight home to Delaware had been cancelled. ”I’ve been through one hurricane before at home in Delaware, but even that was nothing like just the rain storms you have here — so intense,” Perez said. “In my head I was just constantly imagining what this hurricane would be like, and our room was facing the water too.”

Luckily, though, Elianna said she never got scared at all. ”Well, maybe a little bit about a tornado, but not really,” she said. “Not even when it was raining a whole lot and I saw a spider come up through the floor. It was a tiny one and I let it crawl on my boot.”

- Anastasia Dawson

12:28 p.m. At Indian Rocks Beach, a ‘day off work’

John Davis and Tonya Moody sit on Indian Rocks Beach on July 7, 2021, hours after Tropical Storm elsa brushed the coast.
John Davis and Tonya Moody sit on Indian Rocks Beach on July 7, 2021, hours after Tropical Storm elsa brushed the coast. [ GABE STERN | Tampa Bay Times ]

The waterline at Indian Rocks Beach had moved up, right to where John Davis and Tonya Moody had set up their chairs late this morning. ”It was beautiful,” Davis said of Tuesday evening. The Clearwater residents had gone to a park to feel the rain and wind against their chests. They drove down Gulf Boulevard the next morning, where the waves grew larger than normal. They had not stocked up or prepared for Elsa. They had become used to storms creeping along the coast. Davis, 57, has lived in Clearwater all his life. When he thinks of damaging storms, he thinks of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. When he thought of Elsa as it approached, he thought of a day off from work.

- Gabe Stern

12:22 p.m. High tide closes Bayshore Blvd. in Tampa, Dodecanese Blvd. in Tarpon Springs

Bayshore Boulevard between S Rome Avenue and W Swann Avenue is closed due to high tide and winds.

Several streets in Tarpon Springs were expected to remain closed until the early afternoon, until high tide subsided. Roads closed include Dodecanese Boulevard, Athens Street, South Spring, Canal Street and Whitcomb.

Posted by Tarpon Springs Florida USA on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

11:34 a.m. Elsa makes landfall in Florida

Tropical Storm Elsa was making landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region on Wednesday morning, several hours after being downgraded from hurricane status. The storm’s center was coming ashore in Taylor County with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. advisory.

Tornado warnings were issued in several northern Florida counties, including the Gainesville area, on Wednesday morning. Heavy rain and gusty winds are expected across northern Florida once the storm makes an expected turn to the northeast. Some flooding is also expected in the region, where the ground is already saturated from heavy rain late last week.

Forecasters said Elsa would slice across inland north Florida as a tropical storm with strong rains and wind, then move on to Georgia, the Carolinas and Virginia before heading out in the Atlantic Ocean by Friday. A tropical storm watch was in effect early Wednesday for the coasts of North Carolina and Virginia from Duck, North Carolina to Chincoteague, Virginia, and for the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

In Georgia, a tropical storm warning was posted along the portion of the coast of Brunswick, with the National Hurricane Center saying tropical storm conditions with sustained winds of up to 50 mph are expected in southeast parts of the state. Read more here.

- Tony Marrero and Associated Press

11:21 a.m. Thousands remain without power in Tampa Bay

Close to 5,000 customers in Tampa Bay remained without power as of 10:45 a.m., according to local utility providers Duke Energy and Tampa Electric, down from nearly 20,000 who lost power as Tropical Storm Elsa brushed the region overnight. About 3,700 of the outages that remained were Tampa Electric Co. customers, mostly in Hillsborough County, and the rest were Duke, mostly in Pinellas County. More details and info on how to report an outage can be found here.

- Malena Carollo

11:00 a.m. Transit service restored in Hillsborough and Pinellas

Buses and trolleys are running again in both Hillsborough and Pinellas counties, according to transit services on both sides of Tampa Bay.

10:57 a.m. shops remain closed in Gulfport

Despite escaping the storm unscathed, many businesses remained closed Wednesday morning. Sandbags lined the doors of most shops and restaurants, and the neighboring streets were scattered with palm fronds but otherwise empty. At O’Maddy’s, which opened at 8 a.m., it was business as usual. Bartender Chris Hill, 51, said that despite the uncertain forecast, the popular restaurant and bar stayed open till 3 a.m. Wednesday.

-Helen Freund

10:48 ‘And that’s it’ on Clearwater Beach, but swimming discouraged

Angelo Delmistro and Cindy Lee woke up in their Clearwater Beach condo just after 7 a.m., looked out at the beach and saw that the water had crept under the docks, a bit closer than usual. The couple drove from New York to North Carolina on July 3, then North Carolina to Clearwater on July 4 and had tracked the storm as it approached Cuba. They went to Costco on Tuesday and bought paper towels, water bottles and extra food. They turned on the TV for updates before they went to bed and heard the wind against the window at night. But as they looked out the window on Wednesday morning, they figured the storm wasn’t as bad as they thought. “And that’s it,” said Delmistro, 60, standing on the beach Wednesday morning. They saw the waves had grown in size, so they canceled their plans for a charter fishing trip. They instead settled in on the beach. ”Only my son’s a little bit disappointed because he thought he would be able to enjoy the sun by the sand,” said Lee, 56.

Clearwater Fire Rescue said no swimming was allowed near Pier 60, as the water remained rough.

- Gabe Stern

10:36 a.m. At St. Pete home wrecked by Eta, Elsa was ‘quite docile’

The intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue NE and Denver Street NE in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg on July 7, 2021. Shore Acres is prone to flooding, but appeared mostly spared by Hurricane Elsa.
The intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue NE and Denver Street NE in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg on July 7, 2021. Shore Acres is prone to flooding, but appeared mostly spared by Hurricane Elsa. [ NATALIE WEBER | Tampa Bay Times ]

As Elsa approached Tampa Bay, the line for sandbags on 62nd Ave. NE drew more than 130 cars, said 39-year-old Wilson Gates. So Gates, who was staying in his brother’s Shore Acres home, decided to go to Home Depot and buy topsoil bags instead. Last year, the home had flooded with three to four inches of water and FEMA had to gut the home, he said. This year, however, Elsa left barely a trace, beyond a flooded intersection nearby.” This happened this morning,” Gates said of flooded street. Gates worked in the home’s front yard on a van he was converting into an RV. His white Siberian Husky, Kia, kept him company. Overall, Elsa “was quite docile,” Gates said.

- Natalie Weber

10:26 a.m. surf’s up

Larger than normal waves at Pinellas County beaches this morning brought out curious onlookers and a few surfers, a rare sighting in the area.

Luis Ernesto catches a small wave while surfing in Pass-a-Grille, the morning after Tropical Storm Elsa moved over the Tampa Bay Area and up the west coast of Florida, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in St. Pete Beach.
Luis Ernesto catches a small wave while surfing in Pass-a-Grille, the morning after Tropical Storm Elsa moved over the Tampa Bay Area and up the west coast of Florida, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in St. Pete Beach. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Darius Denton checks out the high surf at Pass-a-Grille the morning after Tropical Storm Elsa moved over the Tampa Bay Area and up the west coast of Florida. Denton recently relocated from Atlanta and hadn’t seen the weather like this since. “ This is really neat,” he said. “We were really worried about flooding but we didn’t have anything.” Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in St. Pete Beach.
Darius Denton checks out the high surf at Pass-a-Grille the morning after Tropical Storm Elsa moved over the Tampa Bay Area and up the west coast of Florida. Denton recently relocated from Atlanta and hadn’t seen the weather like this since. “ This is really neat,” he said. “We were really worried about flooding but we didn’t have anything.” Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in St. Pete Beach. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

10:15 a.m. Bayshore Boulevard a little bit messy

Joggers had returned to Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa the morning after Elsa passed through the area, despite dead fish, horseshoe crabs and debris that had washed onto the sidewalk.

Dead fish and debris line a portion of Bayshore boulevard’s sidewalk after waves from tropical storm Elsa caused waves to crash against the sea wall on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Tampa.
Dead fish and debris line a portion of Bayshore boulevard’s sidewalk after waves from tropical storm Elsa caused waves to crash against the sea wall on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Tampa. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
A jogger makes his way along Bayshore Blvd., in Tampa, Fla. as a wave breaks over a seawall, during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Elsa Wednesday, July 7, 2021. The Tampa Bay area was spared major damage as Elsa stayed off shore as it passed by. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
A jogger makes his way along Bayshore Blvd., in Tampa, Fla. as a wave breaks over a seawall, during the aftermath of Tropical Storm Elsa Wednesday, July 7, 2021. The Tampa Bay area was spared major damage as Elsa stayed off shore as it passed by. (AP Photo/John Raoux) [ JOHN RAOUX | AP ]

10:02 a.m. Hillsborough shelter clearing out, people and pets

Hillsborough County opened a single storm shelter on Tuesday, at Riverview High School, with room for 450 evacuees, but only saw 41 people stay the night, a county spokesperson said. The shelter also hosted nine pets: seven dogs, one cat, and a bird. By 9 am Wednesday, most of the shelter’s occupants had already left for home. Hillsborough County saw hardly any damage from the storm, the spokesperson said, though emergency planning personnel were still out assessing the area. Early Wednesday, the only activity reported were two downed trees, one in Brandon and the other in Ruskin. No injuries or damage to local homes were reported.

- Anastasia Dawson

9:31 a.m. Areas that flooded during Eta were spared by Elsa

Toffer Ross, a horticulturalist for the City of Gulfport, checks on beachside plants along Shore Blvd Wednesday, July 7, 2021. She said she was "pleasantly surprised" to find most of the plants along the waterfront had not taken on any salt water.
Toffer Ross, a horticulturalist for the City of Gulfport, checks on beachside plants along Shore Blvd Wednesday, July 7, 2021. She said she was "pleasantly surprised" to find most of the plants along the waterfront had not taken on any salt water. [ JOHN PENDYGRAFT | Times ]

There was no visible flooding or damage in Shore Acres in St. Petersburg or in John’s Pass in Madeira Beach, both areas that flooded heavily during last year’s Tropical Storm Eta. In downtown Gulfport, another area prone to flooding, the streets were mostly dry, save for a few large puddles along Shore Boulevard. Gulfport resident Deb Frank, 59, and her son Noah Brown, 25, woke shortly after 2 a.m. to survey the damage, and were relieved to find no flooding or debris on their street or anywhere else in the neighborhood. Frank, who has lived in the area since 2005, said she expected the storm surge to be much worse. “I took everything off the porch and out of the yard,” she said. “But there was nothing. The trees were moving, but there wasn’t even that much wind.”

Toffer Ross, a horticulturalist for the City of Gulfport, spent Wednesday morning walking Shore Boulevard, examining the shrubs and trees planted along the waterfront for saltwater damage. Ross said many of the city’s plants near the downtown waterfront were destroyed during Eta. “When the water comes up, it’s pretty dramatic,” Ross said. “But it was nothing we didn’t expect. It’s particularly hard on plants that are on their last legs.” Ross said she was “pleasantly surprised,” to find most of the plants appeared to have escaped any serious damage from Elsa overnight. Still, she said she’d be back later in the day with jugs of fresh water to rinse out any leftover saltwater from the roots, just in case.

The intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue NE and Denver Street NE in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg on July 7, 2021. Shore Acres is prone to flooding, but appeared mostly spared by Hurricane Elsa.
The intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue NE and Denver Street NE in the Shore Acres neighborhood of St. Petersburg on July 7, 2021. Shore Acres is prone to flooding, but appeared mostly spared by Hurricane Elsa. [ NATALIE WEBER | Tampa Bay Times ]

Tami Shadduck, 41, walked to Shore Acres Elementary School with her daughters Leila Wallace, 11, and Piper Wallace, 8, this morning. The family was on their way to pick up their car, which they had parked at the elementary school in preparation for the storm. ”We took precautions,” Shadduck said. Those included using plastic to protect against flooding in their garage, placing valuable items on high shelves and securing items in their backyard. Having lived in the Shore Acres neighborhood for six years, they have yet to experience flooding in the house, though their garage did flood last year when Eta passed through. Last night, the family woke up at 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. to check for water but this time, they were prepared.

- Helen Freund and Natalie Weber

Our EOC is now deactivated. We monitored Elsa throughout the night and, fortunately, received no major impact....

Posted by Rick Kriseman on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

9:14 a.m. Gov. DeSantis says Elsa ‘could have been worse’

Gov. Ron DeSantis said this morning that the storm has thus far been less destructive than he and others expected. ”There’s not been reports of really significant structural damage anywhere in Florida, fortunately,” DeSantis said. “Clearly, this could have been worse from what we were looking at 72 hours ago.” Elsa was downgraded to a tropical storm overnight and currently carries 65 mph maximum sustained winds, DeSantis said. The storm is expected to make landfall in the next few hours near Steinhatchee, in the state’s sparsely populated Big Bend region. The storm could still bring flash flooding and tornadoes as it passes across north and northeast Florida, DeSantis said. ”I ask Floridians to simply be safe and use common sense,” he said.

As of 6 a.m., there were 26,000 people, mostly in the Tampa Bay area, experiencing power outages. No health care facilities have reported losing power, DeSantis said. ”This was something I think that we’ve been able to handle fine,” DeSantis said. Anyone posting photos of downed trees or other damage on social media is encouraged to tag the state’s Division of Emergency Management so they can report it to the federal government for potential reimbursement, division Director Kevin Guthrie said. The division can be tagged by @FLSERT on Facebook or Twitter.

- Lawrence Mower

9:04 a.m Downed trees and water close Pasco streets

The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office urged caution as trees were blocking several roadways around the county this morning. A fallen tree partially blocked the southbound lane of Moon Lake Road, just north of Ridge Road, in New Port Richey; Aegean Avenue in Holiday, between Limewood and Sweetwood, was closed due to flooding, and the north side of the intersection at Lake Iola Road and Dan Brown Hill Road in Dade City was shut down due to a large tree blocking the street.

8:58 a.m. Davis Island boats weathered the storm

Tampa veterinarian Steve Lewis, 72, stopped to check his sailboat at the Davis IslandsYacht club Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Tampa. Tropical Storm Elsa continued to track north after dropping heavy rain in the Tampa Bay area.
Tampa veterinarian Steve Lewis, 72, stopped to check his sailboat at the Davis IslandsYacht club Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Tampa. Tropical Storm Elsa continued to track north after dropping heavy rain in the Tampa Bay area. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Steve Lewis already had a waiting room full of patients by 8 this morning, but the 72-year-old veterinarian couldn’t help but make a detour on his way to the Davis Island Animal Clinic. All night long, as Tropical Storm Elsa battered his Davis Island home, Lewis had worried about his Raptor – not a dinosaur or bird of prey, but a J/105 racing sailboat docked at the Davis Island Yacht Club. ”The first time one of your buddies calls you at three in the morning and says, ‘Steve, one of your lines has broken and you need to come replace it,’ or worse, ‘we replaced it for you,’ you feel about an inch tall,” Lewis said. “I learned real quick I don’t want to be the guy everyone has to call in the middle of the night.” Lewis was happy to see that his lines had safely moored the Raptor to its post overnight.

All of the other boats at the club had weathered the storm safely as well, apart from a small, battered one that had broken loose earlier in the week and had been bumping against the sea wall ever since. Even if forecasters stress a coming storm won’t cause chaos in Tampa Bay, the boaters at the Davis Island club don’t take any chances on their multi-thousand-dollar vessels, Lewis said. He also wanted to check on the safety of the beer and big bottle of rum he’d left in his boat’s cabin.

- Anastasia Dawson

Our EOC is now deactivated. We monitored Elsa throughout the night and, fortunately, received no major impact....

Posted by Rick Kriseman on Wednesday, July 7, 2021

8:35 a.m. Photos: Elsa passes by Tampa dropping heavy rain

Sandhill cranes cross the road during a rainstorm from Tropical Storm Elsa, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Westchase.
Sandhill cranes cross the road during a rainstorm from Tropical Storm Elsa, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Westchase. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]
Fallen trees block Front Street near Lutie Drive Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Valrico. Tropical Storm Elsa continued to track north after dropping heavy rain in the Tampa Bay area.
Fallen trees block Front Street near Lutie Drive Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Valrico. Tropical Storm Elsa continued to track north after dropping heavy rain in the Tampa Bay area. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Michael Ciarleglio with the city of Pinellas Park, cleans up a few tree branches while working the morning after Hurricane Elsa moved over the Tampa Bay Area and up the west coast of Florida, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Pinellas Park.
Michael Ciarleglio with the city of Pinellas Park, cleans up a few tree branches while working the morning after Hurricane Elsa moved over the Tampa Bay Area and up the west coast of Florida, Wednesday, July 7, 2021 in Pinellas Park. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]

Check out more photos of the morning after Elsa in Tampa Bay here.

8:24 a.m. Tornado watch has expired for Tampa Bay area

The tornado watch that was in effect for the Tampa Bay region and surrounding counties expired at 8 a.m.

8 a.m. Operations to resume at Tampa International Airport

Tampa International Airport is resuming operations at 8:30 a.m., ahead of its planned 10 a.m. reopening after Tropical Storm Elsa.

Related: Tampa International Airport opening after Tropical Storm Elsa

The airport had 98 canceled flights today, including departures and arrivals, because of the storm, according to spokesperson Emily Nipps. Its first departure was scheduled for after 10 a.m.

Tampa International staff inspected the airfield around 3:30 a.m. following Tropical Storm Elsa. It did not have any damage, and the rental car center and garages are open.

Tampa International suspended operations at 5 p.m. Tuesday night in anticipation of Tropical Storm Elsa. Travelers whose flights are scheduled through Friday should check with their airlines for the most current flight information.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport canceled three flights from Allegiant Air as of Wednesday morning. The airport closed its administrative office at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

7:30 a.m. Flooding minimal, with mobile homes spared, Pinellas Sheriff says

In Pinellas, the storm was “thankfully uneventful,” Sheriff Bob Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday morning.

The county saw only minor isolated flooding and a few trees down on secondary roads, he said. Deputies didn’t have to carry out any rescues. Even low-lying mobile home parks, some of which significantly flooded during last year’s Tropical Storm Eta, were okay.

”If we don’t get anything with those, it’s very telling,” he said.

Gualtieri attributes the low-level impact to the storm’s track, which shifted overnight. Pinellas didn’t see the expected 70 mph wind gusts. Instead, wind speeds stayed in the 40- to 50-mph range.

He added that, even without mandatory evacuations, residents seemed prepared and acted responsibly, pointing out that many businesses on the beach closed early.

”Everybody can go about their business back to life as normal — ‘til the next one,” he said.

7:29 a.m. Stormy waters at Bayshore Boulevard after Elsa

Bayshore Boulevard saw high water and strong waves Wednesday morning after Elsa passed through the area. The waterfront was quiet following the storm.

7:04 a.m. St. Petersburg EOC deactivated

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman tweeted this morning that there was “no major impact” in St. Petersburg from Elsa and the St. Petersburg Emergency Operations Center is now deactivated.

He said “preliminary assessments do not show any widespread damage or debris at this time. Flooding does remain a possibility. Please be cautious. Thanks, St. Pete.”

7 a.m. Hillsborough County residents are urged to stay inside

The county urged the public to remain indoors while damage assessments from Tropical Storm Elsa continue. If residents have left their homes or safe locations, they should exercise caution. Additional rain and wind gusts are expected today as the storm continues to move north.

When it’s safe to drive, the county urged motorists to exercise caution on roads as weather conditions warrant: Don’t drive through moving or standing water; treat non-functioning traffic signals as a four-way stop; observe all barricades and detours; avoid standing water. Floodwaters may contain fecal matter, bacteria, and viruses; stay away from downed utility lines; watch for workers clearing debris, and follow all directional instructions and detour signs.

Call (813) 635-5400 to report flooding and road problems.

6:45 a.m. Dozens of flights through Tampa International Airport canceled

About 60 departing flights were canceled as of that time, according to the Tampa airport’s website. The cancellations were largely for morning departures through about 10 a.m. Just over 30 arriving flights were also canceled, some ranging into Wednesday afternoon.

Tampa International suspended operations at 5 p.m. Tuesday night in anticipation of Tropical Storm Elsa. Travelers whose flights are scheduled through Friday should check with their airlines for the most current flight information.

St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport canceled three flights from Allegiant Air as of Wednesday morning. The airport closed its administrative office at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

6:30 a.m. No road closures or overnight rescues, Pinellas authorities report

Pinellas County didn’t have any road closures to due to Elsa and deputies did not need to rescue anyone due to flooding or high water overnight, according to a release from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies opened access to the county’s beaches around 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

“Pinellas County was fortunate to have not experienced more severe weather as forecasted,” the release said.

No injuries have been reported, the release said, and authorities are assessing the county for damages. Residents can report damages to homes or public spaces at https://storm.pinellascounty.org. 911 should only be used for life-threatening emergencies.

6 a.m. Elsa leaves thousands without power across Tampa Bay

A screenshot showing Tampa Electric Co. customers facing outages Wednesday morning.
A screenshot showing Tampa Electric Co. customers facing outages Wednesday morning. [ Tampa Electric Co. ]

As Hurricane Elsa moved up the gulf, thousands in Tampa Bay were without power as of 6 a.m. Wednesday.

More than 15,400 Tampa Electric Co. customers lost power overnight. Most were in Hillsborough County, where the company’s customer base is concentrated, as well as Pasco and Polk counties. Its estimated restoration times ranged from about 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., according to its outage map. The utility does not provide a county total for customers out.

Duke Energy Florida had about 4,000 customers lose power across the state by that time, the majority of which were in Tampa Bay. About 3,000 of those customers were in Pinellas County, 35 customers in Pasco County and 66 customers in Hernando County. It did not have an estimated time for power restoration, as the company said it needed to assess the storm’s damage before it could allocate resources.

Is your power out? Here’s how to report it:

Duke Energy customers can text “OUT” to 57801, call 800-228-8485 or report it online.

Tampa Electric customers can text “OUT” to 27079, call 877-588-1010 or report it online. Customers can register their phone numbers for a faster experience at tecoaccount.com. The companies’ smart meters also likely know if a customer’s power is out.

• • •

2021 Tampa Bay Times hurricane guide

IT’S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane

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BUILD YOUR HURRICANE KIT: Gear up — and mask up — before the storm hits

PROTECT YOUR PETS: Here’s how to keep your pets as safe as you

NEED TO KNOW: Click here to find your evacuation zone and shelter