Tropics watch: Slow-moving Tropical Depression Eta continues to threaten Florida

Cheryl McCloud
| Fort Myers News-Press

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Hurricane Eta’s journey to continue after blasting Central America

It’s been a hyperactive hurricane season, but no storms have made landfall in Florida so far. Eta could change that, Bernie Rayno explains

Eta continued to weaken and become disorganized Wednesday night but the threat to Florida remains.

As it moves into the northwestern Caribbean Sea, forecasts call for it to strengthen by the weekend. 

While Florida remains in Eta’s forecast path, exactly where it will go and how strong it will be remain uncertain. There is an increasing risk for wind and rain in southern Florida over the weekend and into next week.

The current track could take the system near or over portions of extreme southern Florida by late this weekend or early next week, but there is low confidence in the forecast, especially at 3 to 5 days, the Hurricane Center said.

Hurricane Eta forecast: Much of Florida must keep an eye on this rare November threat

What’s coming to Florida?: Eta is winding down, but forecast calls for strengthening and torrential rains on already saturated South Florida

Eta is the 12th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and the 28th named Atlantic storm this season, tying the 2005 record for named storms, according to Philip Klotzbach, meteorologist at Colorado State University who specializes in Atlantic basin hurricane forecasts.

Eta is the strongest Atlantic hurricane this late in the calendar year since Otto in 2016, Klotzbach said.

Hurricane season continues until Nov. 30.

Here’s the latest update from the NHC as of 4 a.m.,  Thursday, Nov. 5:

What’s out there and where is it? 

Tropical Depression Eta continues to weaken. It’s currently located about 90 miles south of La Ceiba, Honduras.

How likely is it to strengthen?

Maximum sustained winds are near 30 mph, with higher gusts. Eta will likely degenerate to a remnant low or trough of low pressure this morning. However, re-intensification is forecast once the center of Eta moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

Compare Eta’s path with other historical storms

Winds are expected to steadily increase and Eta could regain tropical storm status Friday and winds could reach 65 mph by Tuesday.

Details on Tropical Depression Eta

Slow-moving Eta is bringing heavy rain and life-threatening flooding over portions of Central America.

  • Location: 90 miles south of La Ceiba, Honduras
  • Maximum sustained winds: 30 mph
  • Present movement: west-northwest at 8 mph

Who is likely to be impacted?

After weakening over Central America, Eta is forecast to regain tropical storm strength Friday before it moves across portions of Cuba and approaches Florida this weekend.

The current track for Eta continues to keep all of South Florida in its path. The National Weather Service in Miami warned residents an extended period of heavy rain and gusty winds were possible for portions of the area by the weekend.

The threat for heavy rain should increase late this weekend and into the week. Forecasters said changes are likely in the days ahead.

The National Weather Service in Melbourne warned residents on the east coast of Florida could see  hazardous beach conditions, with very rough surf and potentially significant beach erosion.

Locally heavy rainfall is possible across the central East Coast, although details and amounts remain uncertain, the Weather Service said.

Expect very windy conditions, especially along the coast.

While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, magnitude and location of possible impacts from wind and rainfall, forecasters warned all Florida residents should monitor the progress of Eta.

Tracking the tropics in real time:

These graphics, which update automatically, show you activity in the tropics in real time:

Latest images from National Hurricane Center:

USAT storm tracker:

What’s next?

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