By Ted Scouten

KEY WEST (CBSMiami) – Family fourth fun was had in Key West on Sunday. Still, plenty of eyes were on the horizon, wondering what will happen with Tropical Storm Elsa.

Twenty-five competitors entered, but only “The Human Vacuum” emerged. We’re of course talking about the annual Key Lime Pie eating contest.

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Without using his hands, Nicholas Luera scarfed down an entire 9-inch pie topped with whipped cream in just 2 minutes, 13.5 seconds.

Nicholas Luera, right, points to an empty pie pan after winning the World Key Lime Pie Eating Championship Sunday, July 4, 2021, in Key West. (Courtesy of Rob O’Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

Over at the southernmost point, July 4 partiers lined up for that treasured vacation photo.

But they did so keeping an eye on the sky, knowing Elsa is swirling around out there and heading in this general direction.

“We’re already prepared.  We have water and everything,” said Trevon Smith, a visitor.

John Moynihan is getting his boat prepared for when the wind begins to blow. He’s also preparing this house boat.

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Emergency officials are suggesting those who live on boats or in RVs look for another place to stay.

“The plan right now is on hold just to see which way she goes,” Moynihan said. “So right now we’re just waiting to see tomorrow morning what it brings and prepare accordingly. Right now no plans for emergency or evacuation.”

Monroe County Administrator Roman Gastesi recited a prayer at the Grotto of St. Mary Star of the Sea.  It’s a tradition to keep strong storms away.  His big concern is for tourists getting struck on the Overseas Highway.

“Now we have 80 to 90% occupancy. We have about 40,000 visitors right now living in the Keys. If they all try to leave at the same time, it’s going to be a problem,” Gastesi said.

He suggests leaving very early Monday morning or maybe staying an extra day – just don’t get stuck on the road with tropical storm force winds.

“What we want is for folks to be off the road when there’s any hazardous weather and that start tomorrow at 5, 6 in the afternoon.  We want them to be hunkered down or already out of the Leys so they don’t get hurt,” he said.

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As preps are underway, many hoping the Keys are spared any major effects.

Ted Scouten