Hurricane Eta reforms off Southwest Florida coast, bringing more heavy rain, wind

Karl Schneider
| Naples Daily News

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Hurricane Eta comes back to life off Florida’s west coast

Hurricane Eta is now forecasted to make a right turn and head toward central Florida, where tropical storm warnings and hurricane watches are in effect.

Hurricane Eta reformed as a Category 1 storm off the coast of Southwest Florida Wednesday morning, after it meandered through the Gulf of Mexico leaving forecasters uncertain.

The National Hurricane Center mapped the storm about 130 miles west southwest of Fort Myers at its 7:35 a.m. update with winds clocking in at 75 mph. The storm is moving north northeast at 15 mph.

Category 1 Eta: Storm moves toward Florida; west coast under hurricane watch, storm surge warning

A tornado watch is in effect in Lee and Collier counties until 5 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, as heavy rain bands bring bring gusty winds to coastal areas. Collier is also under a flood watch.

“It’s headed away from our area,” Nicole Carlisle at the NWS Tampa office said. “Lee County is just going to get trailing rain bands early today and that will slowly taper off tonight and tomorrow.”

Lee could see some high wind gusts with stronger rain bands, Carlisle said. 

Track Hurricane Eta

Weather radar: Watch  as rain bands move onshore in Collier County, Lee County

As of 9 a.m., few power outage reports were made in Southwest Florida. The Lee County Electric Cooperative reported 117 outages across its coverage area, while Florida Power and Light reported four customers in Collier and 10 in Lee as of 8:30 a.m.

Fort Myers Beach is at high tide and seeing more water roll in as Lee County Schools prepare to dismiss early as Hurricane Eta returns to Southwest Florida.

“Hurricane Eta has the potential to bring heavy rain and high winds this afternoon that could exceed safe levels for buses to be on the road, as identified by the Florida Department of Education,” the district said in a message to families.

Fort Myers Beach councilman Jim Atterholt said his beach front condo near the south end of the island is experiencing “pretty good flooding.”

School closing early: Hurricane Eta: Lee County schools to dismiss kids early today as Category 1 storm approaches

The opening of the 48th Annual Fort Myers Boat Show was delayed a day to Friday because of Eta.

NWS predicts Lee County will receive anywhere from 2-4 inches of rain through Wednesday, adding to the several inches already dumped by Eta’s earlier pass.

Collier County can expect between 1-3 inches with isolated areas receiving more, Sammy Hadi of NWS’s Miami office said. 

“There will be no sustained tropical storm force winds in Naples,” he said. “Maybe some gusts potentially at the low end of tropical storm forces but nothing sustained.”

Dan Summers, director of Collier’s bureau of emergency services, said the county will continue to monitor the storm virtually throughout the day.

“For us it’s just monitoring,” he said, adding that officials didn’t expect any “significant” storm surge. 

Collier could see some more rain and wind, with potential gusts between 20-30 mph, Summers said. Intermittent power outages are also possible. 

More: Here’s what’s canceled Monday in advance of Hurricane Eta

This story will be updated throughout the day.

Karl Schneider is an environment reporter. Send tips and comments to Follow on Twitter @karlstartswithk

 USA Today Network — Florida reporters Michael Braun, Pamela McCabe and Patrick Riley contributed to this report.


Where is Tropical Storm Eta going? Here’s the latest as of Tuesday, Nov. 10

Here is the latest on Tropical Storm Eta as of 5 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2020 from Dr. Ryan Truchelut who breaks down the three main scenarios for Eta.


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