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Kite surfers took advantage of the wind south of Madeira Beach.

Tampa Bay

Scenes from Pinellas Beaches as Hurricane Michael slips by

The Tampa Bay area once again avoided major impacts from a catastrophic storm as Hurricane Michael breezed through the Gulf of Mexico far offshore before barreling into Mexico Beach on Florida’s panhandle. While the area avoided any catastrophic damage, strong currents and a slight storm surge left Pinellas Beaches a wreck.

Dead fish washed up all the way to the garbage cans at Madeira Beach.

At Madeira Beach, the stench of rotten fish and the respiratory sting of red tide was still in the air as dead fish still dotted the shoreline and were washed up far further up the beach than they had been before the storm.

Kite surfers took advantage of the wind south of Madeira Beach.

The rough waters pounding the beach along Madeira Beach and other local beaches churned up foam that blew along the shore as a few curious residents and visitors surveyed the effects of Michael’s wrath in the Gulf.

Rough waters created foam along the shore line.

The waves on beaches from St. Pete Beach north to Madeira Beach where Florida Politics surveyed the damage rivaled Florida’s east coast on a calm day. There were a handful of surfers braving the wind and currents – and red tide – but they could only be seen driving over John’s Pass far out in the distance.

Waves along Pinellas Beaches were choppy, but big enough to surf.

At Treasure Island, the iconic expansive beach was largely intact. Some standing water pooled in the sea oats and the beach was littered with seaweed and still a few dead fish from red tide.

Treasure Island looked almost unscathed.

St. Pete Beach might have seen the worst effects from the surf and periodic heavy rains. Portions of the beach were had lakes of water pooled into mini-ponds. The Beau Monde hotel went from a beach front property to a literal waterfront property.

Water pooled along the Beau Monde hotel, flooding the beach front access from the hotel pool.

A quick drive through St. Pete Beach and Sunset Beach neighborhoods showed no signs of flooding – just some minor standing water. People were out walking their dogs during breaks in the rain and enjoying the reprieve from what has been a blisteringly hot October.

Caddy’s on the Beach in Sunset Beach was packed with bar-goers despite the weather, but the beach itself was empty … except for an ironic bench.


This bench might not have been referring to the post-Michael beach.

Photos by Janelle Irwin Taylor and her daughter, Zoe.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Jim Rosica, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Dan McAuliffe, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
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