Tampa, FL Area Hurricane, Oct 1921

Damage to the pavilion in Safety Harbor Damage to a church under construction in New Port Richey Remains of Dr. Cyrus Teed's mausoleum on Estero Island

The Tampa Bay hurricane of 1921 (also known as the 1921 Tarpon Springs hurricane) was a major hurricane that struck the Tampa Bay Area. The eleventh tropical cyclone, sixth tropical storm, and fifth hurricane of the season, the storm developed from a trough in the southwestern Caribbean Sea on October 20. Initially a tropical storm, the system moved northwestward and intensified into a hurricane on October 22 and a major hurricane by October 23. Later that day, the cyclone peaked as a Category 4 on the modern day Saffir–Simpson scale with maximum sustained winds of 140 mph (220 km/h). After entering the Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane gradually curved northeastward and weakened to a Category 3 before making landfall near Tarpon Springs, Florida, late on October 25, becoming the first major hurricane to hit the area since a hurricane in 1848. The storm quickly weakened to a Category 1 hurricane while crossing Central Florida, before reaching the Atlantic Ocean early on the following day. Thereafter, system moved east-southeastward and remained fairly steady in intensity before weakening to a tropical storm late on October 29. The storm was then absorbed by a larger extratropical cyclone early the next day, with the remnants of the hurricane soon becoming indistinguishable.

The storm brought strong winds to the Swan Islands, including hurricane-force winds on the main island. Heavy rains fell in Cuba, particularly in Pinar del Río Province, but only minor damage occurred. In Florida, storm surge and abnormally high tides caused damage along much of the state's west coast from Pasco County southward. Several neighborhoods and sections of Tampa were inundated, especially in Ballast Point, DeSoto Park, Edgewater Park, Hyde Park, Palmetto Beach, and other areas in the vicinity of Bayshore Boulevard. Strong winds also damaged hundreds of trees, signs, buildings, and homes. Four deaths occurred in Tampa, three from drownings and another after a man touched a live wire. The storm left two additional fatalities in St. Petersburg. A number of streets in Tarpon Springs were littered with masses of debris, with many structures and trees suffering extensive damage. Strong winds occurred as far east as the Atlantic coast of the state, though wind damage east of the Tampa Bay area was generally limited to downed trees and power lines, resulting in power outages, particularly in Orlando. Agriculture throughout the state experienced significant impact as well, including over $2 million (equivalent to $170 million in 2016) in damage and the loss of at least 800,000 boxes of citrus crops alone. Overall, the hurricane left at least eight deaths and about $10 million (equivalent to $840 million in 2016) in damage.

The hurricane brought a storm surge of 10–12 ft (3–3.5 m) to Tampa Bay. The highest rainfall total in Tampa was at 8.53 in (23.5 mm). However, the observer noted that winds probably blew water out of the gauge. The barometric pressure fell to 968 mbar (28.6 inHg), breaking a previous record set in 1910. The hurricane also brought sustained winds of 75 mph (119 km/h) and a storm tide of 10.5 ft (3 m).[3] Damage from the wind was generally minor, while most of the impact wrought by the storm was due to abnormally high tides in Tampa and elsewhere in the area.Much of the city was flooded,[10] with the worst along Bayshore Boulevard, where some of the most expensive properties were located. At Hyde Park, dwellings were inundated about halfway up the first story, prompting several people to be rescued by boat. Electrical poles and wires were washed away near the intersection of Bayshore Boulevard and Howard Avenue. The latter was also left impassible by car. In the Palmetto Beach neighborhood, much of the section was inundated. A group of about 40 volunteers rescued a number of women and children. A total of 50 homes were destroyed by cedar logs used to construct cigar boxes at the Tampa Box Company on 22nd Street.

At Ballast Point, the pavilion and bathhouse were destroyed by the storm. Nearby, the Tampa Yacht and Country Club suffered severe damage.Many cars along the waterfront were severely damaged and nearly all flat railroad cars were submerged. The Malloy Line dock was also left under several feet of water. A number of waterfront warehouses were also damaged by floodwaters. After the Tampa Electrical Company power house experienced water damage, the electricity was shutoff. Additionally, the company's cable station was flooded under several feet of water. Winds downed hundreds of trees and sign across roadways and tore-up awnings. At least 50 awnings were ripped from a bank building on Franklin Street alone. Falling trees also damaged the post office and the YMCA. Almost 500 dwellings in the neighborhood of Ybor City were demolished. Five people were killed in the city, three from people coming into contact with a live wire and the other two from drowning. Only minor damage occurred in Plant City.Throughout Hillsborough County, many county roads were impassible due to downed telegraph poles and other debris, especially between Tampa and Plant City.

Tides 5–6 ft (1.5–2 m) above normal and storm surge in St. Petersburg damaged or destroyed all four fishing piers. Many ships and boats of all sizes capsized or were beached, including the trawler Hypnotist, which ejected the crew of seven into the water, all of whom were rescued. The St. Petersburg Beach Hotel was destroyed, after employees swam through the lobby for safety. At the office of the St. Petersburg Times, then located at Fifth Street and First Avenue South, the loss of electricity resulted in staff working overnight with lanterns. With no power to operate the typesetting machine, the employees connected their linotype machine to a two-cylinder motorcycle to publish the "Motorcycle Extra". Two deaths occurred in St. Petersburg, one from a heart attack during preparations for the storm and the other from a man being crushed by a falling roof.

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