- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said early Wednesday that Tropical Storm Elsa will make landfall “in the next few hours” around the Big Bend coastal area of northern Florida.

Tampa avoided a direct hit, as the storm creeps alongside the western side of the state with sustained winds of about 65 mph.

About 26,000 customers are without power, however, most of them in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Polk counties.

The Republican governor said utility workers will restore power as soon as it is safe to do it.

Mr. DeSantis said flooding is a major concern as the first landfall-making storm of the hurricane season approaches. The ground in northern Florida is saturated from prior rains.

He said people should not try to drive through standing water or go anywhere near downed power lines.

“Don’t approach or touch the power line,” the governor said.

Mr. DeSantis said there aren’t any storms on the two-week horizon, but this part of the summer isn’t the “major leagues” for tropical storms.

He said that will occur from August to October.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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