Elsa Passes, But Responders Remain On Alert

Todays News

Graphic courtesy National Hurricane Center

While Tropical Storm Elsa caused relatively little damage in Sarasota and Manatee counties, emergency officials continue to monitor the system. That’s in part because the storm, which made landfall in Taylor County, could end up hitting some of Florida’s smallest counties with the fewest resources at their disposal.

“We continue to monitor the progress and stand ready if the state requests help,” said Ed McCrane, Emergency Management Chief for Sarasota.

Elsa briefly gained hurricane strength as it moved through the Gulf of Mexico close to the coast, but for the most part remained a tropical storm. For the region, that meant heavy rain and wind. McCrane said North Port saw the greatest flooding issues, and the National Hurricane Center warned of risks on Longboat Key of storm surge as high as three feet.

But once the storm passed, these was little lasting damage. McCrane said there were only a few trees downed that affected residents.

Manatee County’s Public Safety Department reported some beach erosion but little long-term damage. “Our damage assessment team continues to assess impact from Hurricane Elsa. All Manatee County offices and park facilities will re-open to the public at noon today, but our libraries will remain closed until Thursday,” read an official statement after the storm passed.

FPL reported that 149 customers in Sarasota lost power during the storm, as did 33 in Manatee. State officials waited for the storm to pass to allow out-of-state power restoration teams to come in.

The storm finally made landfall around 2 p.m. in Taylor County, in Florida’s Big Bend. The storm, while expected to turn east after landfall, ended up moving steadily north into Georgia and left the state Wednesday evening.

But McCrane said his teams are preparing to be called to other parts of Florida. He noted Sarasota search and rescue teams were the first outside help to arrive in Mexico City after Hurricane Michael hit the state in 2018.

Graphic courtesy National Hurricane Center

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