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article imageTropical Storm Eta to approach Florida with rain, wind, high surf

By Karen Graham     Nov 4, 2020 in Environment
After bringing "catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding, river flooding, and mudslides to Central America, Eta has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm and is expected to turn to the north-northwest by Friday, tracking toward South Florida.
Reports on the catastrophic damage Hurricane Eta inflicted on Honduras and Nicaragua are coming in, but it could be days until residents there are able to survey the totality of the impact. Meanwhile, Eta has been downgraded to a tropical storm as it moves over more mountainous terrain in Central America.
The National Hurricane Center is forecasting possible catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, including mudslides in some parts of Central America, according to Weather.com. And while the storm is expected to lose intensity as it tracks further inland, through Central America, this does not mean the story is over.
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A new chapter emerges on Thursday
According to the latest advisory from the NHC, Eta is expected to turn toward the west-northwest, moving at a faster forward speed later today through Thursday morning. A turn toward the north, and then northeast is forecast Thursday night and Friday. Eta's current speed is 7 mph (11 kph).
The system is forecast to emerge over the Gulf of Honduras or the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday. Eta currently has sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) with higher gusts. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km) mainly to the east of the center.
Again, the biggest danger right now is the extreme rainfall amounts being produced by this system. Anywhere from 10 to over 25 inches of rainfall is forecast for much of Nicaragua and Honduras, while Eastern Guatemala could see 15 to 25 inches of rainfall.
What will Eta do next? We actually don't know yet about Eta's long-term future, and that could hinge on how Eta interacts with an upper-level low sitting over the northern Gulf of Mexico, according to forecasters. It comes down to a lot of predictions and matter of waiting to see what happens next.
Eta is expected to interact or even combine with the upper low by this weekend. That could allow Eta to be pulled northward to just south of or even over the southern Florida Peninsula as a tropical storm as soon as this weekend. By then, Eta's path could be taken over by another upper-level high-pressure system over the eastern states, and becoming Eta's steering wheel - turn Eta in a westerly direction toward the eastern Gulf of Mexico for a time.
More about Tropical Storm Eta, central america', Caribbean sea, longterm future, steering currents
 
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