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article imageEta may take circuitous path to Florida and Gulf early next week

By Karen Graham     Nov 6, 2020 in Environment
Tropical depression Eta — the 28th named storm of the season, which plowed through Central America at hurricane strength this week — is regaining intensity and headed towards South Florida.
After wreaking destruction on Central America this week, Eta moved offshore Thursday as a Tropical Depression. However, because of the favorable conditions in the Gulf, Earther is reporting Eta is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm again as it traverses the western Caribbean toward Cuba.
On Friday morning, the National Weather Service said south Florida should prepare for 5 to 10 inches of heavy rainfall, along with some flooding, this weekend.
“There is an increasing risk of impacts from wind and flash and urban flooding due to heavy rainfall in a portion of southern Florida, the Florida Keys and portions of the Bahamas this weekend and early next week,” the National Weather Service said Friday morning.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Depression Eta is presently moving to the north-northeast at about 6 mph (10kph). Eta's maximum sustained winds are currently 35 mph (55 kph). By tonight, Eta will have regained strength, becoming a Tropical Storm again with sustained winds of 50 mph or more.
Eta is expected to make a turn toward the northeast and pick up some forward speed this afternoon, with this motion continuing through early Sunday. On the forecast track, the center of Eta will move across the northwestern Caribbean Sea today, approach the Cayman Islands Saturday, and be near central or western Cuba Saturday night and Sunday.
Just because it's 2020, and Eta is beginning to behave like the proverbial "drunken sailor," it is hard telling where the storm will head by Sunday, with some models showing it reeling around all over the western coast of Florida, and even making a third landfall.
The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that forecasters expect Eta to curl north toward South Florida over the weekend, after which it will be yanked back west into the Gulf of Mexico.
“Whatever comes out (of Central America) is going to linger a while,” said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. “I’m not convinced we’re done with Eta.” He added, “The winds aren’t going to be the problem. The rains are going to be the problem."
"This is because what’s left of Eta still has spin, which is hard to kill off, and that should help it reform," said NOAA hurricane and climate scientist Jim Kossin. And forecasters are saying that as big, wet and messy as this storm is, it doesn't have to make landfall to create a huge mess.
More about Tropical Storm Eta, Florida, Eastern Gulf of Mexico, third landfall
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