Federal forecasters say the storm formerly known as Eta is expected to return to strength on Friday as it targets torrential rains and strong winds on the South Florida and Florida Keys.
President Alejandro Giammattei said Eta, which was downgraded to a tropical storm and then a tropical depression on Wednesday, caused a massive landslide on Friday in San Cristobal Verapaz, Guatemala where 100 people had could be dead, President Alejandro Giammattei said.
Video from Guatemala shows an army helicopter being used to rescue a family from the rooftop when flood waters flood their community.
The sixth hurricane is about 115 miles east of the city of Belize, Belize, and is moving northeast at 7 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It has a maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour because the Cayman Islands and parts of Cuba are under tropical storm warning.
Moving across the Northwest Caribbean on Friday, Eta is forecast to strengthen into a tropical storm. Heavy rains are expected to spread from Central America to southeastern Mexico and from Jamaica to the Cayman Islands.
The center said areas of South Florida and Florida Keys were likely to experience 15-inch rain by the time Eta swept across the coastline and then entered the Gulf of Mexico on Monday.
At that time winds could reach 65 miles per hour, too weak to be considered hurricane force, says Phil Klotzbach, an atmospheric research scientist at Colorado State University.
Forecasters say Eta’s main concern for the US is rainfall and the likelihood of flash floods.
Meteorologist and spokesman Dennis Feltgen of the National Hurricane Center said: “This will be a very heavy and very heavy rain. “There is a serious threat of some urban flooding.”
He urged Florida residents to pay attention to the forecast.
Eta is considered deadly in part because it spends a lot of time in one place. “The storm is expected to move relatively slowly as it approaches,” Klotzbach said via email.
The US landing is not yet forecast. Feltgen said Eta will weaken after entering the Gulf of Mexico.
Eta is marking a record year in which 11 named tropical cyclones landed on the continental United States.
Relevant press contributed.