As Tropical Storm Elsa churned northward over the island of Key West, it produced 4.49 inches of rain and about a day and a half of tropical storm force wind. At around midnight Monday, winds were on the order of 30 with gusts over 45 mph. By 8 a.m., gusts were approaching 60 mph. Just before noon, the wind peaked at 47, gusting to 70 mph. By sundown, the rain had stopped and winds were back below 30 mph. These wind conditions, considered out of context, would be similar to a strong Northern Plains blizzard.

The rainfall, of course, is far more precipitation than would happen in a blizzard, and there are other considerations. A tropical storm produces high ocean water levels and powerful waves that damage beaches and beach structures, not to mention boats. Power outages are common. Overland flooding displaces wildlife, including insects and reptiles, which go in search of dry ground. A tropical storm is not like a blizzard.

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