Eta strengthens South of Cuba; Heading for South Florida

Tracking the Tropics

Eta Latest Track 3

Tracking the Tropics

More Tracking the Tropics

3 P.M. CST (2100 UTC) Saturday — In the Northern Caribbean, Tropical Storm Eta has quickly regained strength after tracking NE away from Central America and out over open waters.  In the latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the storm now has 60 mph winds & is tracking NE at 16 mph, soon to be making landfall in Southern Cuba.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect until further notice for all of the areas above highlighted in pink. This means hurricane conditions (heavy rain, coastal flooding, storm surge, 74+ mph winds) are possible within the next 48 hours.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect until further notice for all the areas above highlighted in dark red. This means tropical storm conditions (heavy rain, coastal flooding, storm surge, 39+ mph winds) are likely within the next 48 hours.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect until further notice for all the areas above highlighted in coral. This means tropical storm conditions (heavy rain, coastal flooding, storm surge, 39+ mph winds) are possible within the next 48 hours.

Here’s a loop of the latest official track from the National Hurricane Center.  Eta is expected to track over Central Cuba over the next 24 hours, before turning left towards the Florida Keys, & extreme Southeast Florida.  Landfall is expected near Homestead, FL early Monday morning as a tropical storm with 60 mph winds.  Moving into Tuesday, Eta is expected to enter the Gulf as a tropical storm, before likely stalling just SW of Tampa Bay.  Beyond Wednesday morning, the forecast track is too uncertain to go over any specific areas that may be affected later this week.

Here’s the latest rainfall forecast over the next 48 hours.  Flash flooding is possible across much of South Florida, which is expecting 6 to 12” of rain from now until Monday evening.  Rainfall totals gradually drop off as you travel North, but impacts from Eta will be felt across almost all of the Florida peninsula…from Miami to Jacksonville.

Impacts from Eta are expected to extend MUCH further beyond the storm’s center, especially for Florida’s Atlantic coast, which is likely to expect 2 to 3 feet of storm surge & coastal erosion starting tonight & into Monday evening.  Those with interests along Florida’s Atlantic coast are encouraged to heed the advice of local emergency officials.  While Eta itself may not be the strongest storm per se, the storm’s impacts will be felt over a LARGE area, thanks to strong onshore winds that will exacerbate the threat for coastal flooding.

Again, once Eta enters the Gulf, all bets are still off.  Forecast models have an especially hard time figuring out storm track when there isn’t many large-scale atmospheric steering currents to push the storm along.  For now, this storm does not appear to have any potential impacts for the Alabama Gulf Coast, but be sure to check back for further updates next 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!

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