Tropical storm Eta causes dangerous storm surges, heavy rainfall and gusty winds on the west coast of Florida. After a brief reinforcement to a hurricane on Wednesday morning, Eta has since weakened to a tropical storm.
From 1 a.m. ET, Eta is located about 65 miles north-northwest of St. Petersburg, Florida, and about 65 miles northwest of Tampa, Florida. The storm has a maximum wind speed of 60 miles per hour and is moving north at 10 miles per hour.
According to forecasts, this general movement is expected to continue overnight before turning north-northeast and northeast on Thursday morning.
The center of Eta will then move near but off the west central coast of Florida and move inland over the northern part of the Florida Peninsula on Thursday morning. It is expected that the Eta will then move northeast into the western Atlantic Ocean late Thursday and early Friday.
Tropical storm Eta is expected to weaken as it approaches the west coast of Florida and, after landing, will weaken rapidly during the course of today before dissipating over the western Atlantic by the weekend.
A combination of a dangerous storm surge and high tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded as the rising water moves from the coast to the interior. When the peak of the storm surge occurs at high tide, the water could reach the following areas:
Anclote River to Boca Grande, including Tampa Bay, could see three to five feet of water, Boca Grande to Bonita Beach, including Charlotte Harbor, and Steinhatchee River to Anclote River could see two to four feet of water, and Bonita Beach to Flamingo could see one to two feet of water.
A storm surge warning is in effect for Bonita Beach to Suwanee River, Florida, including Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor, and a storm surge monitoring system is in effect for Steinhatchee River to Suwannee River, Florida.
According to forecasts, the deepest water along the immediate coast will occur in areas with onshore winds, where the storm surge is accompanied by large and dangerous waves. The National Hurricane Center says that the flooding caused by the storm surge depends on the relative timing of the storm surge and the tidal cycle and may vary over short distances.
The tropical storm warning south of Englewood has been discontinued, but a tropical storm warning is in effect for Englewood up to the Suwannee River, Florida, and the Flagler/Volusia County Florida line north of St. Andrews Sound, Georgia. A Tropical Storm Warning applies to the north of the Suwannee River to Aucilla River, Florida.
Heavy rains are expected in Florida today, with about two to four inches of rainfall and a maximum total storm accumulation of six inches in West and Central Florida. In North and South Florida there will be an additional one to two inches in North and South Florida with isolated maximum cumulative storms of four inches in North Florida and 20 to 25 in South Florida.
Flash floods and urban flooding will be possible in South Florida on Thursday, especially in previously flooded areas. Flash floods, urban and isolated minor river flooding are also expected to occur in parts of West and North Florida to date.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted the Florida government’s Ron DeSantis request for an emergency declaration for Tropical Storm Eta before the landfall. De Santis told Twitter: “This is great news and ensures that we will have the critical federal resources we need to respond to the effects of this storm.