MIAMI—Tropical Storm Elsa, which was briefly upgraded to a hurricane before dipping back down to a tropical storm, made its way across Florida’s northern Gulf Coast yesterday, and was expected to weaken to a tropical depression as it treked northeast toward Georgia and the Carolinas.
The storm lashed the Tampa area forcing several Publix’s grocery stores to close temporarily, WFLA.com reported. According to Mark Jenkins, a spokesman for AAA, Elsa is not expected to impact fuel prices in Florida, although high winds and heavy rain are predicted for the state this week.
Elsa has been blamed for the deaths of at least three people elsewhere in the Caribbean, and at least one boat overturned in the storm. On Monday night, a vessel carrying 22 people from Cuba capsized 26 miles southeast of Key West, the Coast Guard said, adding that 13 people were rescued and nine are still missing.
Elsa is the fifth named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The first, Ana, formed on May 23, making this year the seventh in a row that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of the season on June 1.
Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast that there will be 13 to 20 named storms this year. Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes. Because meteorologists exhausted the alphabet for the second time, they were forced to name the storms using Greek letters. 2020 had the highest number of storms on record, surpassing the 28 storms in 2005.
As reported by NACS Daily yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida signed executive orders authorizing the waiving of hours-of-service requirements for motor carriers or drivers operating commercial motor vehicles participating in emergency relief efforts through the transportation of equipment and supplies or providing other assistance in the form of emergency services.
Convenience stores are often the last stores to close in local communities and the first stores to open prior and after a natural disaster respectively. To help c-stores be at the forefront of relief efforts within their communities, NACS resources are available for convenience retailers to develop or enhance their disaster planning procedures. Designed to help convenience retailers quickly and efficiently determine the best course of action for their teams to plan for an emergency and resume operations quickly and safely, the Convenience Store Emergency Planning and Job Aids are available to all members.
Visit the Disaster and Emergency Preparedness page for more emergency planning resources, NACS Magazine articles and Convenience Matters podcast episodes on preparing your stores should storms and disasters come.