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Tropical Storm Eta Is Set to Strike Florida Keys Within Hours

SportNov 09, 2020 00:45
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(Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Eta will hit the Florida Keys overnight, becoming the year’s record 12th named storm to make landfall in the U.S. It’s then set to drift west, build in strength, and make a second run at the Sunshine State north of Tampa.

Eta will probably strike near the central Keys about midnight local time with winds of 70 miles (113 kilometers) per hour, said Paul Markert, a meteorologist with commercial forecaster Maxar. Once it passes through the Florida islands, it will likely become a Category 1 hurricane later this week with winds of 75 mph.

“Hurricane conditions are expected tonight and early Monday across portions of the Florida Keys,” the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its forecast. “Life-threatening storm surge is possible along portions of the southern coast of the Florida peninsula.”Eta made landfall in Cuba early Sunday with 65-mile-per-hour winds and heavy rains. The storm killed more than 50 people across Central America last week and more than 100 others are missing after it struck that region as a major hurricane, according to the Associated Press.

If Eta makes landfall in the Florida Keys, or later this week along the Gulf of Mexico coast, it will be the 12th storm to strike the U.S. in 2020, adding to a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season that’s seen hundreds of deaths, billions of dollars in damage, and a total of 28 storms.

So many storms have formed that the hurricane center used up all the names on the official list by mid-September and has had to use Greek letters to designate subsequent systems.

The official hurricane center track forecast currently takes Eta on a backwards-question-mark-like path through the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Its threat to offshore oil and natural gas production will probably be low. While Eta will certainly become a hurricane late Monday, it will weaken before it makes its potential second landfall along Florida’s west coast.

The exact details of when and where that will happen could change, Markert said.For the U.S., Eta’s destruction probably won’t match the tragedy still unfolding across Central America. The U.S. economic tally will probably be less than $100 million in insured losses, said Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler for Enki Research.

Emergency Declared

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has declared an emergency in advance of Eta. The tropical storm’s meandering track could even mean a triple landfall for Florida, Adkins said. The first would be in the Keys, the second along the western coast, and then finally into the Florida Panhandle or northern part of the state.In addition to Eta, forecasters are also watching another potential storm that has a 20% of forming in the Caribbean, and a third in the central Atlantic that has a 30% chance in the next five days, the hurricane center said. If either of these storms form, 2020 would set the record for the most tallied in a single year.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Tropical Storm Eta Is Set to Strike Florida Keys Within Hours

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