Storm Eta continues to threaten Florida with rain, tornadoes, storm surges, and flooding despite weakening back into a tropical storm on Wednesday, November 11, as it continues to drift off the state's western coastline. According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 13:00 (local time) on Wednesday, Eta was located 180 km (115 mi) southwest of Tampa and was tracking north-north-east at 17 kph (10 mph), carrying maximum sustained winds of 110 kph (70 mph). The storm system is forecast to move closer to but just offshore of the coast of west-central Florida on Wednesday before moving inland over the northern portion of the Florida peninsula on Thursday, November 12. Eta is forecast to slightly weaken further before making landfall, upon which it will begin to dissipate more rapidly, before passing out into the Atlantic off the state's north-eastern coast on Friday, November 13. The following warnings and watches are currently in effect along Florida's west coast:
- A Storm Surge Warning from Bonita Beach to the Suwanee River, including Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbour
- A Hurricane Watch for Anna Maria Island to Yankeetown
- A Tropical Storm Warning for Dry Tortugas and from Bonita Beach to the Suwanee River
- A Storm Surge Watch from the Steinhatchee River to the Suwanee River
- A Tropical Storm Watch from North of the Suwanee River to the Aucilla River
Additional warnings and watches may be issued as Eta approaches land. A dangerous storm surge of up to 1.5 m (5 ft) is possible in the watch areas and rainfall of up to 150 mm (6 in) is forecast in west and central Florida, meaning a possibility of flooding and associated disruptions. Further rain will hit northern Florida on Thursday and could lead to more flooding. The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a number of Tornado Warnings in western and central Florida on Wednesday and further warnings are possible in the near term. Monitor the NWS Tornado Twitter feed for updates.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from late May through to the end of November, with activity typically peaking in late August and early September. Numerous tropical storms form in the Atlantic Ocean during this period, with most affecting the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the east coast of the United States. Although communities in the region are generally well prepared for adverse weather conditions during the hurricane season, severe storms bring a significant risk of flooding and infrastructural damage.
Those in Florida are advised to monitor local weather reports, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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