Tropical Storm Eta’s uncertain track still aims to impact Florida

4 p.m. update:

ORLANDO, Fla. — Tropical Storm Eta is now moving north-northwestward at 14 mph over the Florida Straits.

Eta’s maximum sustained winds are still around 65 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm will move past the Florida Keys overnight Sunday.

Forecast models show Eta may gain hurricane status over the eastern Gulf of Mexico by midweek.

Eta is expected to produce dangerous storm surge, flash floods and strong winds over portions of Cuba, Florida and the Florida Keys.

Eta may possibly push back toward the Florida Peninsula in some form later this week.

10 a.m. update:

The Florida Keys have been put under a hurricane warning as Eta is forecast to eventually regain hurricane strength. It’s now moving off Cuba and back over water and will head back west toward the Gulf.

Then the track shows another hook back to the northeast as it continues its very bizarre track.


7 a.m. update:

Tropical Storm Eta will cross over Cuba today and we don’t expect any strengthening during that timeframe. Once Eta crosses over Cuba into the Florida Straits we could see some strengthening, with the possibility for it to reach Hurricane strength.

The latest track is a little further south and west than the previous track, which is good news for Central Florida. This should hold the tornado threat down to South Florida.

It still looks like a windy and wet pattern will take shape across Central Florida Sunday night into Monday.

Brevard County is the only county in our area that is under any sort of tropical watch/warning, with a Tropical Storm warning in place. Brevard will definitely feel the “bigger” impacts in comparison to the rest of the area.

Conditions inland here in Central Florida over the next 48 hours will be breezy with 15-25mph winds, scattered showers and a few storms possible on Monday.

Beach conditions over the next 48 hours will be windy with winds reaching 20-35mph and gusts near 45mph with Brevard County feeling the strongest effects. The coast can also expect scattered showers and a 1-2″ chance of rain possible in Brevard.

Next week, Eta could spin in the Gulf for days, keeping our rain chance elevated.

11 p.m. Saturday update:

Tropical Storm Eta picked up speed Saturday evening in the Gulf, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Eta’s maximum winds are now up to 65 mph as it readies to more across Cuba. The storm is moving northeast at 13 mph.

Forecast models show Eta could soon become a hurricane.

Eta is now forecast to move over the Florida Keys on Monday before moving into the Gulf and bending back around to Florida.

Brevard County has also been updated to a tropical storm warning.

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5 p.m. Saturday update:

Eta is slowly gaining strength as expected, nearing a potential landfall Monday morning in deep South Florida. Our breezy weather will turn to windy through Sunday and Monday, and tropical storm watches are up for Brevard County. Hurricane watches are also up for South Florida. Out of an abundance of caution regarding Tropical Storm Eta, Governor Ron DeSantis issued Executive Order 20-277, declaring a state of emergency in the following counties: Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties.

Sunday will be a windy day with increasing late night and Monday morning squally bands possibly moving north and through Central Florida. High surf and rough coastal conditions persist through early next week, and it’s likely that Eta will nearly stall in the Gulf off Fort Myers. This will be closely monitored but models keep slow moving Eta a weaker tropical storm, though not moving much. We will monitoring this storm well into late next week, watching for outer rain bands and seeing how much dry air weakens the system. Stay tuned!

1:45 p.m. Saturday update:

Tropical Storm Eta strengthened Saturday afternoon as it continues to have Florida in its projected path.

Eta’s long-term forecast is uncertain but currently projected to move over South Florida Monday morning.

Tropical storm watch have also been issued for parts of South Florida.

Eta is moving northeast at 17 mph. It should pass over Cuba overnight and into Sunday morning.

Current models show Eta should remain a tropical storm over the next five days.

7 a.m. Saturday update:

Eta remains very unorganized this Saturday morning. Eta is still on track to regain tropical storm status as the storm moves toward Cuba this afternoon and into the evening. Eta is expected to near South Florida by Monday. Here in Central Florida, we can expect a windy and wet Sunday night, which will continue through the day on Monday.

10:48 p.m. Friday update:

Tropical storm watches have been issued for Southern Florida, the Florida Keys and the northwestern Bahamas.

Chief meteorologist Tom Terry said Eta has a lot of rain gathering in the Caribbean, but so far is still disorganized. It is expected to regain tropical storm status as the storm moves northeast toward Cuba by Saturday night and near or over Southern Florida late Sunday and Monday.

Weather will hit Central Florida late Sunday overnight, and on Monday with heavy rain reaching 4 inches. Wind gusts could reach over 40mph with squalls early Monday morning and periodically throughout the day.

4:00 p.m. Friday update:

The National Hurricane Center issued the latest advisory on now Tropical Depression Eta. It has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph winds and has made its turn to the northeast, moving at about 7mph.

Hurricane Hunters have been investigating this system this afternoon and found Eta’s center a bit more south than originally estimated. This shifts the track a bit more south and west for next week, moving it a bit farther away from Central Florida. It also slows down the system by about 6 hours.

The slowing down means that the first rain bands will not get to Central Florida until early Monday morning.

We expect this system to be affected by drier air in the middle layers of the atmosphere, which could help the wind field expand as this system could become a subtropical storm. An expanding wind field means that significant winds could extend far away from the center of the storm.

Eta is expected to approach Cuba late Saturday night. Tropical Storm warnings have been issued for the island.

Heavy rain that could produce flash flooding is forecast for Cuba, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, and South Florida.

A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the coast of Cuba near and to the east of where the center makes landfall. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

THREATS FOR CENTRAL FLORIDA

The latest track and timing shows that Eta could be near the Florida Straits by Monday morning. This means that we can expect the rain bands to move over Central Florida by very late Sunday or early Monday morning and the winds to increase Sunday through the beginning of next week.

Eta’s storm’s will be affecting the entire peninsula. We can expect heavy rainstorms at times moving from east to west starting late Sunday through Wednesday.

Eta’s proximity by early next week is still highly uncertain. For now, expect heavy rain bands, which could cause flooding.

We will continue to monitor the system closely and bring you the latest on Eyewitness News, WFTV.com and on our free WFTV weather app.


1:30 p.m. Friday update:

Eta is still a tropical depression but is becoming better organized, hurricane hunters are currently investigating the system and we can expect more information later today.

Click here to watch Eyewitness News for live updates.

The system has 35 mph winds, but we know that the system is expected to strengthen. The wind field could potentially expand as this system could become a subtropical storm, which means that significant winds could extend far away from the center of the storm.

Heavy rain will cause flooding across South Florida. The ground is very saturated as this year they have exceeded the average rain for the year by 12 inches in many locations.

We will continue to monitor the system closely and bring you the latest on Eyewitness News, WFTV.com and on our free WFTV weather app.

Forecast Track

10:30 a.m. Friday update:

Eta is expected to become a tropical storm by this afternoon. The waters are warm giving the system the fuel it needs to strengthen. Wind shear will prevent the system to become a hurricane while it is over the Caribbean.

Torrential showers are expected this weekend over much of Cuba as the system will approach the island and continue crossing the island through its middle section.

Tropical Storm watches are in effect for much of Cuba.

The track has shifted a bit more east, and it is not forecast to make landfall in the Florida Keys early Monday morning. Much of South Florida will have torrential rains and there is a chance that the center can shift in the coming days as confidence grows in the forecast


Central Florida’s forecast

The forecast still calls for Eta’s center to stay west of Florida. But this would place us close enough to the system to get heavy rains, heavy storms and possibly severe weather. We are still expecting the track to shift. But for now, you must prepare for heavy rains through the first have of next week.

We will continue to monitor the system closely and bring you the latest on Eyewitness News, WFTV.com and on our free WFTV weather app.



Early Friday morning update:

The storm is forecast to move northeastward and strengthen some time Friday. Forecasters said Eta is could become a tropical storm again Friday, with further strengthening likely through early Sunday.

Eta should be near South Florida on Sunday and Monday. It could take a turn to the west.

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

Meteorologist Brian Shields said Central Florida’s rain chance will go up Sunday and Monday due to the storm. A gusty onshore wind will also be in the forecast.

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

Click here to watch Eyewitness News This Morning for live updates.

Katlyn Brieskorn, WFTV.com

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