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Tidal gauges show waters in Tampa Bay flattening before high tide

Rain and river flooding can still threaten homes. But storm surge may recede faster than tides rise.
 
Gina Angelastro of St. Petersburg takes photos of the currently inaccessible boat ramp at Bay Vista Park in St. Petersburg. People came out to the park to see big waves and some light flooding Wednesday morning.
Gina Angelastro of St. Petersburg takes photos of the currently inaccessible boat ramp at Bay Vista Park in St. Petersburg. People came out to the park to see big waves and some light flooding Wednesday morning. [ CHRISTOPHER SPATA | Times ]
Published Aug. 30, 2023|Updated Aug. 30, 2023

Water heights in Tampa Bay have flattened, after rising quickly overnight. The question now: Can surge recede faster than tides rise?

If it does, overall water levels in coastal areas could begin coming down instead of increasing any further. Rain or river flooding, however, could still continue to threaten homes.

The difference between low tide and high tide near St. Petersburg on Wednesday is about 3 feet, and peak tide is about 2 p.m.

Places around Tampa Bay flooded Wednesday morning, although much of the region seems to have dodged the worst potential effects so far.

St. Petersburg’s record since 1946 was 4 feet above average high water marks, set by Hurricane Elena in 1985. (Waters were undoubtedly higher during Tampa Bay’s 1921 hurricane but were not recorded.) Preliminary data from Idalia’s surge shows an early peak just shy of that record, hitting 3 feet, 10 inches at 8:18 a.m.

Tidal gauges at St. Petersburg, East Bay and Clearwater Beach all showed waters flat or slightly receding mid-morning Wednesday.

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