Elsa less than forecast for Tampa Bay

NOAA NWS Surface Analysis

As Tropical Storm Elsa was moving north off the west coast of Florida on July 6th, the National Hurricane Center in Miami upgraded Elsa to a hurricane at 1:45pm on the 6th based on an Air Force Recon report that the max winds had increased to 60 knots (70mph) and as a result a hurricane warning was issued for a portion of the west coast of Florida, including Tampa Bay.

As the center of Elsa passed west of Tampa at about 2am EDT on the 7th hurricane models were indicating sustained winds of 50 knots (58 mph) or more should have been widespread across the Tampa Bay area, however, actual surface wind reports were less than forecast.

NOAA Model wind analysis TS Elsa

As Elsa passed the Bay to the west, the actual wind reports were, thankfully, quite a bit less.
Reports showed that the peak sustained winds were between 21 knots (24 mph) and 34 knots (39 mph) and peak wind gusts only reached 31 knots (36 mph) to 47 knots (54 mph).

Actual wind reports

A surface wind analysis made just prior showed that the gale force and storm force winds were confined to the coastal waters with lesser wind speeds extending east over land.

About Fred Pickhardt

I am a marine meteorologist and sailed briefly with American Export Lines in the Far East trade after graduating from State University of New York Maritime College. I have extensive experience in weather analysis, weather forecasting, optimum ship routing, vessel performance evaluations and forensic weather event reconstructions. I founded Ocean Weather Services and as Owner and Chief Consultant currently provide optimum ship routing services and forensic marine weather reports to the maritime industry.
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