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Local man gives update on Tropical Storm Elsa from Tampa

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(WTRF) – A hurricane watch is in effect for parts of Florida’s Gulf Coast tonight as Tropical Storm Elsa is set to make landfall. It’s forecasted to bring winds up to 50 or 60 miles per hour, along with storm surges and flooding.

7NEWS spoke with Frank Papini of the Elks Lodge 231 in Martins Ferry; he’s down in Tampa, Florida for the Elks National Convention. He tells us that he and the other convention-goers are under a shelter in place order at their hotel, and have been told to stay off the streets as the storm comes closer. Papini says that Tampa is taking Elsa very seriously.

The city of Tampa, trust me, it’s empty. Everybody went home. The other day when we were here for the 4th of July they were shoulder to shoulder, you couldn’t get around. Now, the streets and that, everybody in Tampa has either packed up and went home or they’re off the streets. The hotel has been sand bagged, and everybody is ready for this storm.

Frank Papini, Exalted Ruler of Elks Lodge No. 231, Martins Ferry

Papini also told said food is a concern right now. The grocery stores closed around noon on Tuesday and though his group has a hospitality room with food, when that runs out that’s it.

But it isn’t all bad news. Frank told 7News experiencing a hurricane first-hand like this has always been on his bucket list, and that he and everyone else are safe.

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