Key West is getting doused by Tropical Storm Elsa. But a bar and a wine shop are open

·3 min read

Tropical Storm Elsa brought heavy rainfall, street flooding and high winds to Key West on Tuesday, complicating routines for residents, tourists and businesses.

But one famous bar was open Tuesday morning: the Green Parrot at Whitehead and Southard streets.

“It’s just a little rain, people!” Barbara Beck posted on Facebook at about 10:30 a.m., along with a photo of the bar’s beloved jukebox. “Credits on the jukebox. Come on down!”

Many restaurants and other places were also open before noon. That’s when forecasters predicted heavy rain and winds would start to die down. But they cautioned to expect extensive street flooding along with strong wind gusts.

A tropical storm warning continued Tuesday morning in the Middle and Lower Keys, with tropical-storm-force wind gusts reported. Key West International Airport reported sustained winds of 43 mph and wind gusts to 59 mph.

But the island city reliant on tourism to pay the bills showed signs of being open for business. Other places at least tried to stay open despite the weather.

Workers at the Hemingway Home and Museum on Whitehead Street were doing their best to accommodate tourists, who weren’t forced to leave ahead of Elsa. They took pity on a few stuck in the rain.

“We’ve let a few guests in that were outside the gates getting rained on,” General Manager Jacque Sands said. “We didn’t officially open. The girl at the gate is sopping wet. We’re doing tours the best we can.”

The owner of Uva Wine posted: “Rain or shine. We will be open today. Wine never sleeps!”

At about 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, the restaurant Azur was making food as usual.

Key West was hit with strong wind gusts and rain from Tropical Storm Elsa on July 6, 2021.
Key West was hit with strong wind gusts and rain from Tropical Storm Elsa on July 6, 2021.

“We’re cooking your breakfast here on this wet and windy morning!” they posted on Facebook. “See you soon!”

By 4 p.m., the National Weather Service in Key West reported that storm conditions were continuing to dissipate and expected to end before sunset.

The highest winds over the Keys on Tuesday were in Key West, where at the airport the highest wind speed recorded was a 70-mph gust.

“This was a good drill for us,” County Mayor Michelle Coldiron told county and municipal leaders on an afternoon conference call. “Get some sleep tonight.”

A flood watch issued for the Middle and Lower Keys had been canceled by 3 p.m. Most of the street flooding had also receded by then, even down on low-lying Front Street in Key West, according to meteorologist Jon Rizzo of the National Weather Service.

A resident in Key West’s Old Town neighborhood captured street flooding on the morning of July 6, 2021.
A resident in Key West’s Old Town neighborhood captured street flooding on the morning of July 6, 2021.

Scattered power outages were reported through the day. Keys Energy, which provides service from Key West up to the Seven Mile Bridge, said most were in Key West and that crews were able to keep up with them.

Florida Keys Electric Cooperative, which covers the Middle and Upper Keys, reported having three small outages on Tuesday, two in Marathon and one on Grassy Key, and all were resolved within an hour.

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