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Tropical Storm Elsa brings heavy rain, gusts to Florida Keys

KEY WEST, Fla. – While South Florida was spared a direct hit from Tropical Storm Elsa, Key West was affected by the outer bands of the storm system Monday night and Tuesday morning. It was cloudy and rainy by the afternoon.

Schools from Marathon down to Key West were closed Tuesday. Local 10 News reporter Ian Margol was in the area and reported there were gusts and rain, but it wasn’t strong enough to disrupt tourists and restaurant workers Tuesday evening.

There was steady rainfall in the Lower and Middle Keys throughout the day. There were also just a few stores that placed sandbags outside their doors as the area is known to flood even without a tropical storm nearby.

“Just batten down the hatches and get ready for it,” Margarita Pedroza, who lives on a boat in Key West, said.

Pedroza said it would take a much stronger storm than Elsa to force her inland, which seemed to be the locals’ consensus.

“Well, it’s only a tropical storm. We get worried if it’s anything over a Category 2,” William Dail said.

Dail walked out to Higgs Beach Tuesday to get a look at the storm for himself, saying that he has lived in Key West for nearly two decades, and Elsa didn’t make him or his neighbors bat an eye.

“Yeah, I haven’t left for a storm yet. Irma was the closest thing to make me think about leaving,” he said.

Further inland, conditions were much calmer, looking more like a typical Key West thunderstorm than a tropical weather event.

Monroe County Commissioner and former Key West Mayor Craig Cates said there was some minor flooding.

“I already made one ride,” Uber Driver Andriy Dmitryk said. “I took some guys to the restaurant for their morning.”

On Monday, Gov. Ron DeSantis warned Florida residents shouldn’t allow a false sense of security to get in the way of their safety.

“We do anticipate some power outages,” he said. “If you do have those power outages and you’re using a generator, please make sure that that generator is exhausting outside of your home and outside of your garage.”

The peak of the rainy and gusty weather was expected Tuesday night in the area.

Related links

Hurricane prep guide

About the Authors:

Ian Margol joined the Local 10 News team in July 2016 as a general assignment reporter. Born in Miami Beach and raised in Broward County, Ian is thrilled to be back home in South Florida.

Amanda Batchelor is the managing editor for Local10.com.