Elsa brings lots of rain, but little damage locally

Motorists drive in heavy rain from Tropical Storm Elsa on U.S. 27 near the intersection of Northwest 44th Avenue in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2021.

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Posted July 8, 2021 | Staff Report

Motorists drive in heavy rain from Tropical Storm Elsa on U.S. 27 near the intersection of Northwest 44th Avenue. [Bruce Ackerman/OG]

Marion County was spared major damage or flooding from Tropical Storm Elsa as is passed through the area on July 7.

The highest wind gusts recorded at the Ocala International Airport reached 25 mph at 8:51 a.m., according to the National Weather Service.

Overall, the rainfall in the area was just more than 2.5 inches in most areas and at or near 3 inches in the western side of the county, including Dunnellon. More than 7 inches of rain was recorded at a weather station near Gainesville, the weather service reported. Several Gainesville roads were closed due to flooding.

There were a few trees down and at least one tree that fell on a home, but no injuries were reported locally. At least one tree fell across Northwest 100th Avenue Road requiring county crews to clear the debris.

Three ducks use a flooded section of Northeast Watula Avenue instead of Tuscawilla Pond. [Bruce Ackerman/OG]

There were reports of scattered power outages, but no widespread loss of power.

The county reported no structures damaged and about 100 homes lost power, according to Sgt. Paul Bloom, Marion County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.

In Ocala, there were no reports of flooded streets and there was no damage to city property, said Ashley Dobbs, city spokeswoman.

Just more than 1,000 customer of Ocala Electric Utility lost power, but power was restored to all customers by Wednesday afternoon. The weather was clear enough for regular trash pickup to continue, she said.

A fallen tree from Tropical Storm Elsa blocks most of Northwest 49th Street Road. [Bruce Ackerman/OG]

Dunnellon also reported tree limbs down and scatter power outages, but no serious damage.

Early Wednesday, however, some area residents were awoken by a tornado alert issued by the weather service. There were no reported tornadoes.

All alerts related to Elsa have since been lifted.

Other areas were not so lucky, however, and Elsa was blamed for the death of at least one person in Florida and spinning up a tornado at a Georgia Navy base that flipped recreational vehicles upside-down and blew one of them into a lake.

Elsa continued to drop torrential rains over the Carolinas and was expected to make its way through South Carolina before exiting to the Atlantic passing near the mid-Atlantic states.

Heavy rain from Tropical Storm Elsa flooded the boat dock at Ray Wayside Park in the Ocala Boat Basin in Silver Springs. [Bruce Ackerman/OG]

Authorities in Jacksonville said one person was killed on July 7 when a tree fell and struck two cars. The National Weather Service reported 50 mph wind gusts in the city. The tree fell during heavy rains and no one else was injured, according to Capt. Eric Prosswimmer of the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department.

In nearby Camden County, Georgia, a possible tornado struck a park for recreational vehicles at Kings Bay Naval Submarine Base. About 10 people were injured and taken to hospitals by ambulance, said base spokesman Scott Bassett. The extent of their injuries was not immediately clear. He said some buildings on the base appeared to have been damaged as well.

An EF-2 tornado flipped over multiple RVs, blowing one of the overturned vehicles about 200 feet (61 meters) into a lake, the National Weather Service said in a preliminary report early Thursday after its employees surveyed the damage. Debris from the RVs was strewn throughout the park, the agency said.

Elsa is the earliest fifth-named storm on record, said Brian McNoldy, a hurricane researcher at the University of Miami.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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