FIRST ALERT: Eta is now a hurricane, high chance of development in Caribbean
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Eta is now a hurricane and continues to push north along the west coast of Florida.
Tropical Storm Eta
At 8 AM, the center of Hurricane Eta was located by a NOAA reconnaissance aircraft and NOAA Doppler weather radars near latitude 25.8 North, longitude 83.8 West. Eta is moving toward the north-northeast near 15 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue through Thursday.
On the forecast track, the center of Eta will move closer to but offshore of the southwest coast of Florida today, approach the west-central coast of Florida tonight, and move inland over the northern portion of the Florida peninsula on Thursday. Eta is expected to move northeastward into the western Atlantic late Thursday or early Friday. Reports from the aircraft indicate that maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Eta is expected to be at hurricane strength tonight as it approaches the west coast of Florida, with rapid weakening expected after landfall on Thursday. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center. A University of South Florida COMPS buoy just southeast of Eta’s center recently measured a sustained wind of 49 mph and a gust to 65 mph. Doppler radars indicate that tropical-storm-force winds are located just offshore the southwestern coast of Florida. Across the lower Florida Keys, a sustained wind of 43 mph and a gust to 56 mph were recently reported at Sand Key. The minimum central pressure recently measured by the NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft was 984 mb
Tropical Storm Theta
At 7 AM the center of Tropical Storm Theta was located near latitude 29.4 North, longitude 34.7 West. Theta is moving toward the east-northeast near 8 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue for the next several days. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher gusts. Slow weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 205 miles from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 989 mb. Theta poses no threat to land!
Chance of Development
A tropical wave located over the eastern Caribbean Sea is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms. The wave is expected to move slowly westward into more conducive environmental conditions over the next several days, and a tropical depression is likely to form late this week or this weekend when the wave reaches the central or western Caribbean Sea. Regardless of development, this system is expected to bring heavy rainfall along with possible flash flooding to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and portions of Hispaniola over the next couple of days. For more detailed information, refer to products issued by your local weather office. The chance of development is now at 20% over the next two days and 80% over the next five days.
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