What will Eta do? Why even the experts are having a hard time predicting storm’s path

Megan Kearney
 
| Naples Daily News

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tropical weather: what can Florida expect from Eta?

While Eta is expected to be a tropical storm again by Friday, its track is questionable and complex, says Dr. Ryan Truchelut. It will be a wet weekend, especially for South Florida.

As Tropical Depression Eta moves away from South America and out toward the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters are saying it’s still too early to tell where the storm is headed.

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, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“You get a better feel for how it behaves probably tomorrow.” NWS Meteorologist Richard Rude said. “If anything does require any watches or warnings it will probably be Sunday or later. Right now it’s really too soon to say where it is tracking.”

Eta is forecast to regain tropical storm strength over the northwestern Caribbean Sea late this week, according to the NHC.

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Eta in “uncharted territory”

“This is a strange situation to have a storm become a Cat 4, borderline 5, and go all the way down to a tropical depression and become a storm again,” SNN Meteorologist Dan Henry said.

Henry called the scenario “uncharted territory” as there aren’t many case studies for it.

“I would treat any forecast with a great deal of uncertainty more than usual,” he said. “Especially since it’s a weak system. Models aren’t going to do as well with a weak system.”

Although the details of the future track and intensity of Eta are uncertain, there is an increasing risk of impacts from wind and rainfall in portions of the Cayman Islands, Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys this weekend and early next week, the hurricane center said.

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When will we know more about Eta?

Once Eta emerges over its energy source, warm water again, we will begin to learn more about the storm and its path and intensity.

While Eta regaining hurricane strength cannot be ruled out, there is little support for that as of now, NHC said.

Cheryl McCloud, Dinah Pulver and Carlos Munoz contributed to this report.

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