Tropical Storm Eta was unleashing more strong winds, heavy rains and "dangerous storm surge" over parts of Florida early Thursday, ahead of an expected second landfall in the state, per the National Hurricane Center.
The state of play: Eta was pummeling Florida's west coast overnight after briefly strengthening into a Category 1 hurricane offshore from the state's southwest. Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) tweeted Wednesday evening that FEMA had granted his request for a pre-landfall emergency declaration.
10 PM EST Nov. 11th Key Messages for Tropical Storm #Eta:— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) November 12, 2020
Tropical Storm conditions are expected along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast through Thursday morning with a danger of life-threatening storm surge in this region including Tampa Bay.
Latest: https://t.co/lQ8WhA2D3G pic.twitter.com/vBwtioUG01
- DeSantis also expanded his state of emergency declaration to cover more counties, with up to six inches of rain forecast to fall in western and central Florida in the next two days, per the Sun Sentinel.
- There were "no immediate reports of any injuries, serious damage or flooding in the Tampa Bay area as the storm skirted past that region Wednesday afternoon," AP reports.
What to expect: "Slow weakening is expected as Eta approaches the west coast of Florida during the next few hours, followed by more rapid weakening after landfall occurs later today," the NHC said in an update at 1am Thursday.
- "Eta is forecast to dissipate over the western Atlantic Ocean by the weekend."
The big picture: Eta is the 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, tying a 2005 record that was later broken by the formation of Subtropical Storm Theta in the Northeast Atlantic Monday night.
- Eta made landfall as a tropical storm in the Florida Keys late Sunday and also in Nicaragua last week, when as a Category 4 hurricane.
- It brought torrential rains to parts of Central America, including Guatemala, where rescue crews continued their search on Saturday for over 100 people believed to be buried by mudslides.
Editor's note: This article has been updated with more details on the storm.