Tropical Storm Elsa

Tropical Storm Elsa was the fifth named storm and first storm of the 2021 Hurricane season to make landfall over Florida. Although the eye remained out in the Gulf, southwest Florida got the brunt of Elsa’s force Tuesday, July 6th, bringing along rain, high winds, and heavy wave activity. The storm fluctuated between a hurricane and tropical storm as it wound through the Caribbean and up along the west side of The Gulf of Mexico. 



RECON sensors recorded wind gusts of over 50 mph at the Gulf of Mexico and Redfish Pass weather stations (52 mph and 52.7 mph respectively), with wind speeds hovering near 30 mph for most of Tuesday. Further up the Caloosahatchee, the RECON site at Fort Myers clocked wind gusts of 38.3 mph.

Elsa brought intense wave action off the coast of Sanibel and Captiva. The RECON wave buoy, located about 3 miles off the coast of Sanibel’s Blind Pass Beach, recorded the highest wave height to be 12.8 feet at 8 pm on Tuesday evening. This maximum height is over 10 feet higher than the average wave height for the year. Although there are large gaps in data due to buoy maintenance, this is the tallest wave height recorded with the buoy since it was deployed in 2014.

Throughout July 6th, Elsa's arrival was indicated by a steep drop in barometric pressure, followed by an increase in wind gusts, as recorded at the Gulf of Mexico weather station.