The 2020 hurricane season continues to strike non-stop as Tropical Storm Eta, the 28th storm named in the seasonwith torrential rains and strong winds. Typically Central America is the graveyard for storms – but not Eta. Increasingly, forecasters fear that Eta will reappear in the warm Caribbean waters and then head to Florida later this week.
Currently, Eta is slowly weakening on the mainland, but it is expected to enter the Caribbean on Friday and move northeast. Models show the system is reorganizing, with some new intensification this weekend over the Caribbean and the Florida Strait, north of Cuba. On this road there appeared to be two more landings: Cuba on Sunday and possibly South Florida on Monday.
If Eta made landfall along the US coastline, it would break the record for the most named storms hitting the United States in one season, at 12. If it did return to storm intensity, that would breaking the record for most of the storms that hit the land of the United States.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Tropical Storm Eta is located inland near the Honduras-Nicaragua border, continuing to move west deeper into Central America. This system is expected to further weaken into a tropical depression but will continue to pour torrential rains and cause flash floods.
By the end of this week, Eta will begin to feel the effects of its superior navigation north making it difficult for the storm to turn right, pushing it back into the hot seas in the northern Caribbean. While some magnitude may occur, it will be limited, at least initially, because Eta will have to face some dry, wind-cut air in the upper deck, interacting with the Cuban mainland and time is limited.
On Saturday the system will overtake Cuba, potentially a tropical storm, and then travel to South Florida. It is still uncertain how strong Eta will be and how powerful the storm will hit South Florida. It is more likely that Eta will be a strong tropical storm or even a low grade storm. Some models show a direct hit, while others show a glimpse of the Florida Keys.
Regardless of the track exactly, Eta will deliver a very wet weather across South Florida from Friday through early next week. Depending on the track, there may be rain per foot at some points.
After the storm passed South Florida, most later models showed it headed back west into the Gulf of Mexico as early as next week. The Gulf waters were still warm enough for Eta to regain her strength once again. While it is too early to tell if and where another landing might take place, some instructions suggest another might be on the Gulf Coast mid next week.