Tropical Storm Emily shut down some summer activities Monday, including many athletic fields and the water parks at Legoland and Adventure Island.
With most of the rain falling to the south, there were no immediate concerns about possible flooding on Monday in either Pasco or Hernando counties.
On Monday morning, the Anclote River at Elfers -- which has flooded each of the past two summers -- measured 10.25 feet. Flood stage is 20 feet. The Withlacoochee River at Croom, where the flood stage is 9 feet, stood at 5.24 feet.
Tropical Storm Emily made for a squally morning and kicked up some waves for Tampa surfer Roger Cramer. Time to dry out at St. Pete Beach and Pass-a-Grille. #tbtonassignment #pinellasbeaches #tropicalstorm #storm #flwx #surfing #surf
Pinellas County will have sandbags available for residents in the county at the following locations: John Chesnut Park, 2200 East Lake Rd, Palm Harbor; John S. Taylor Park, 1100 Eighth Ave. SW, Largo; Lealman Community Park, 3890 55th Ave. N, St. Petersburg.
- Times staff
Tropical Storm Emily continues to approach the Tampa Bay region. As of 11 a.m., the storm, with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, is located about 35 miles southwest of Tampa and 30 miles northwest of Sarasota and is moving easterly at 9 mph.
A tropical storm warning remains in effect from the Anclote River to Bonita Beach.
Hillsborough County has not activated its Emergency Operations Center and did not immediately have plans to do so, said Michelle Van Dyke, a county spokeswoman.
There had not been reports of significant damage in the county by 10:30 a.m.
"We're closely monitoring the storm and all of our partners are on standby and at the ready to respond in any way necessary," Van Dyke said.
From the National Hurricane Center: Tropical Storm Emily is approaching the mouth of Tampa Bay, and landfall along the west-central Florida coast should occur by early afternoon. Heavy rainfall is expected over Central and South Florida. Little change in strength is forecast.
By Tony Marrero
Times Staff Writer
TAMPA — When Tampa Bay residents went to bed Sunday night, forecasters were already calling for a wet Monday.
What they weren’t calling for is Tropical Storm Emily.
So it’s safe to say many were surprised to wake up to the news that a depression had formed in the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward Tampa. By the time morning commuters were slogging their way along wet and in some cases flooded roads, the depression had become Emily.
“This thing developed very quickly, and the closer it got to land the more data we had, so the more confident we were to issue warnings and watches,” said Stephen Shiveley, a forecaster for the National Weather Service in Ruskin.
By Sunday morning, models were indicating that an area of low pressure could form on the tail end of a frontal boundary. At that point, the National Hurricane Center gave the system a 20 percent chance of developing into a tropical system.
Late Sunday and early Monday, forecasters monitored the radar and began to receive data on wind speed from buoys in the Gulf of Mexico.
“That’s when we noticed this thing’s definitely closed off,” Shiveley said. That is, the open wave or trough had developed into a true low pressure system.
By 5 a.m., a couple of buoys were showing speeds of between 24 to 38 miles per hour, the range for a tropical depression. About an hour later, when the center of the storm was about 60 miles southwest of Tampa, the National Hurricane Center issued its first advisory, noting the system had become a depression.
At 8 a.m., the hurricane center issued an advisory noting that the system was producing average surface wind speeds of about 40 knots, or 46 miles per hour. Tropical storm force winds range from 39 to 73 mph.
Exactly why the storm formed so quickly will be determined with more in-depth analysis later, but the ingredients were there: the frontal boundary caused winds to converage over warm water in the Gulf, Shiveley said.
The worst of the weather, with heavy downpours and wind gusts of up to 45 miles per hour, should move through by this evening and will mainly be in the Tampa Bay area and points south, Shiveley said. The center of the storm is expected to make landfall in Manatee County about 3 p.m. Tornados are always a risk in tropical storms but are unlikely in this weak system, Shiveley said.
“By the time everybody’s going to bed tonight this thing’s going to be wrapping up,” Shiveley said.
The National Hurricane Center forecast calls for Emily to move across the state but the storm will have to battle some drier air as it moves inland and may not survive the trip across the state as a named storm, he said.
The forecast will return to a more typical summer pattern on Tuesday and Wednesday, with perhaps a few more storms than normal.
Contact Tony Marrero at email@example.com or (813) 226-3374. Follow @tmarrerotimes.
Some local governments making sandbags available today for residents to fill:
• Hillsborough County will have sandbag materials availablle to the public at all three county Public Works service units until 7 p.m.: West service unit, 9805 Sheldon Rd in Tampa; South service unit, 8718 Old Big Bend Road in Gibsonton; East service unit, 4702 Sydney Rd in Plant City. Hillsborough County residents must provide their home address and sign their name acknowledging the receipt of 25 sandbags or less.
• The city of Tampa will issue sandbags 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to people with proof of residency at the following three locations: Bobby Hicks Pool, 4201 W Mango St.; Barksdale Active Adult Center, MacFarlane Park, 1801 N Lincoln Ave.; and Jackson Heights Playground, 3310 E Lake Ave.
• Tarpon Springs planned to start issuing sandbags by 8:30 a.m. at Splash Park, Live Oak Street between Alt 19 and U.S. 19; the Sponge Docks, West End at Roosevelt Blvd.; and Dorsett Park on East Harrison Street.
• In Pinellas Park, residents can get up to 10 sandbags until 6 p.m. at the Public Works Facilities building at 6151 78th Ave. N. People must show a water bill or driver’s license to indicate proof of residency.
- Times staff
TAMPA -– A large oak tree fell on top of a mobile home early Monday morning, almost cutting the residence in half, according to broadcast reports.
Three people were inside of the home at the time of the incident. One woman was taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, 10News WTSP reported.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott issued a statement on his website early this morning, saying emergency management officials are monitoring the progress of what now is Tropical Storm Emily.
"As we know in Florida, storms can quickly develop, bringing severe weather to our state in a moment’s notice." Scott said. "Last night, this storm posed no threat to Florida. Now, after rapidly intensifying overnight, a tropical depression will impact the Tampa area and Floridians must prepare for impacts to Southwest Florida. Just as with last year’s storms, I encourage Floridians to get prepared and visit FLGetAPlan.com.
-- Times staff