3 P.M. CST (2100 UTC) Wednesday: Tropical Storm Eta, a long-lived & persistent tropical storm, is now beginning to impact much of SW Florida for the second time in less than a week, after regaining strength in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico & now tracking to the North at 12 mph.
Widespread tropical rainbands associated with the storm have produced localized flooding & storm surge in SW Florida, & even spawned a few tornadoes earlier this afternoon.
Here’s the updated track from the National Hurricane Center. With forecast confidence now much higher compared to the past two days, Eta is expected to pass through the Jacksonville metro area tomorrow morning, bringing 39+ mph gusts & torrential rainfall. Beyond tomorrow, Eta is now expected to eject quickly into the open Atlantic, before dissipating sometime Friday due East of South Carolina coast.
A Hurricane Watch is currently in effect for much of the West coast of Florida, extending from roughly Port Charlotte in the South, through the Tampa Bay area, & North to roughly Cedar Key. This mean hurricane conditions (74 mph wind gusts, torrential rainfall, flooding, & storm surge) are possible over the next 24 hours.
Farther inland, we have Tropical Storm Watches & Warnings extending from Tampa Bay up to Jacksonville. Even after making landfall a second time, tropical storm conditions are expected in North-Central Florida much farther inland tonight & tomorrow.
Elsewhere in the tropics, there are two other disturbances we’re keeping an eye on: Tropical Storm Theta, and an unnamed area of interest in the Caribbean, which could potentially become Tropical Storm Iota if it develops.
Thankfully, Tropical Storm Theta is way out there in the far NE Atlantic, and is expected to continue tracking away from the US towards the Canary Islands, posing no threat.
What may become Iota will be worth watching, as the disturbance now has an 80% chance of development over the next 5 days. This would continue the already record-breaking hurricane season, becoming the 30th named storm of 2020. Stay tuned for further updates this week!
That’s all for now! Be sure to download the free CBS 42 Storm Team Weather App for up-to-the-minute weather alerts in YOUR area. Also, give me a follow on Twitter @GriffinHardyWX for more weather updates from across Alabama & the Southeast. Have a good night!