Eta could bring rain to Central Florida this weekend; track shifts

ORLANDO, Fla. — Eta is a tropical depression but it is still producing heavy rain and life-threatening flooding in Central America.

The storm could redevelop and move near South Florida next week.

10:00 p.m. update

Certified chief meteorologist Tom Terry said Eta could hit south Florida by noon on Sunday, and bring with it the likelihood of rain Sunday afternoon and Monday in Central Florida.

4:00 p.m. update

Eta is about to emerge back over the Caribbean. The tropical depression has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and it is expected to gain strength on Friday as it moves over the warm Caribbean waters.

Eta still producing heavy rains and life-threatening flooding over portions of Central America

A tropical storm watch is in effect for the Cayman Islands.

The track shifted more west and it is becoming possible that Eta will travel over Cuba and enter the Gulf of Mexico early next week.

Under this new trajectory, there could be less severe weather for Central Florida. We are still expecting the rain chance to increase through the weekend, but those showers will not be associated with Eta. They are courtesy of moisture influx from the Atlantic. Read below for more details.

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2:00 p.m. update

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect for Central America at the moment as Eta continues to travel slowly over northwestern Honduras.

Eta will exit Honduras and emerge over the western Gulf of Mexico late Thursday or very early Friday.

RAINFALL FORECAST

An additional 10 to 15 inches, isolated maximum storm totals of 40 inches in Eastern Honduras and eastern Nicaragua.

Southeastern Mexico: 5 to 10 inches, isolated maximum totals of 20 inches.

Jamaica: An additional 3 to 5 inches, isolated maximum storm totals of 15 inches.

The Cayman Islands into portions of Cuba: 10 to 20 inches, isolated maximum totals of 30 inches.

This rainfall will lead to catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with landslides in areas of higher terrain of Central America. Significant, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding is possible in the Cayman Islands and Cuba. Flash flooding and river flooding is expected for Jamaica and southeast Mexico.

ETA TO LEAVE CENTRAL AMERICA

The storm is expected to gain strength while it is over the Caribbean, acquiring back its tropical storm status.

There is high certainty that the storm will hit Cuba, but after it lands on Cuba, the confidence level decreases drastically.

There are several factors that could hurt Eta’s strength and shift the track. First, passing over Cuba could weaken the system’s winds. Also, there is a strong wind shear forecast to shift the storm’s convection (thunderstorms to the east). Although the center could remain over the Florida Straits, most of its thunderstorm activity will likely be shifted to the east, over Florida, early next week.

All this will be highly dependent on how far northeast Eta makes it, before making that northwestern turn.

RAIN FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA... BUT NOT FROM ETA, YET

We expect rain and storms this weekend across Central Florida, but it will not be associated with Eta.

Moisture will surge across Central Florida from the Atlantic, and bring scattered showers. The showers will move relatively fast to the west as the breeze will be strong from east to west.

We will continue to monitor Eta’s track and proximity to Central Florida and bring you the latest on Eyewitness News, WFTV.com, and on our Free WFTV Weather app.

READ: Hurricane Season 2020: How are they named? Who names them? Why? When? Why they retire names? Why isn’t Dorian retired yet?

Forecast Track

10:45 a.m. update

Eta’s center continues to be over Honduras and it is expected to enter the western Caribbean early on Friday while turning to the northeast. By Saturday morning Eta could become a tropical storm again as it travels over warm Caribbean waters.

Eta will travel slowly and by Monday it is expected to be over Central Cuba.

The track continues to have low confidence by early next week. As of the 10 am advisory by the Nationa Hurricane Center on Thursday, the track has shifted a bit more west, which places Eta over the Florida Straits early next week.

It is still too early to tell if the system will have an impact on Central Florida.

We are expecting rain chances to increase as there will be more tropical moisture arriving from the Atlantic this weekend, not really associated with Eta, but there could be some more shifting, so the track could still change.

We will continue to monitor and bring you the latest on Eyewitness News, WFTV.com, and on our Free WFTV Weather app.

8:45 a.m. update

There is still lots of uncertainty about Eta’s track early next week. South Florida continues to be in the cone of uncertainty.

With the easterly winds, and more moisture arriving from the Atlantic we will get a surge in the rain chances. The intensity and severe conditions will depend on Eta’s proximity.

We will continue to monitor and bring you the latest on Eyewitness News, WFTV.com, and on our Free WFTV Weather app.

4:45 a.m. update

Eta continues to produce heavy rain, life-threatening flooding in Central America

The remnants of Eta continue to produce heavy rain and life-threatening flooding over portions of Central America.

The center of Eta is expected to move across Honduras through Thursday afternoon. It will then emerge over the Gulf of Honduras by Thursday night.

It’s expected to weaken to a remnant low or trough of low-pressure Thursday morning.

READ: Update: NOAA’s Hurricane season forecast predicts a record number of storms this season

Eta is forecast to approach the Cayman Islands and Cuba this weekend.

The storm could redevelop once the center of the Eta moves over the northwestern Caribbean Sea.

READ: Hurricane Season 2020: How are they named? Who names them? Why? When? Why they retire names? Why isn’t Dorian retired yet?

If the storm redevelops, it could approach South Florida early next week.

Meteorologist Brian Shields said it’s a “wait and see” scenario. It’s too early to tell if the storm will redevelop over the Caribbean Sea.

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Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

Katlyn Brieskorn is a Digital Assignment Editor at WFTV. She joined Channel 9 in July 2019.