Eta Forecast to Become a Hurricane Again
Tropical Storm Eta has taken one of the most unique tracks in hurricane history and it's still not made a final landfall. The system which began over a week ago as an area of disturbed weather east of the Caribbean Sea reached major hurricane status before making landfall in Nicaragua last week. The system then weakened during its time over Central America to become a tropical depression.
The system then moved back into the warm waters of the Caribbean Sea early last week and has since moved north and eastward and is this morning affecting the Florida Keys and most of southern Florida.
The storm's center was located about 45 miles north of Key West at 0300CDT. The National Hurricane Center reported the maximum sustained winds with the system were 65 mph. That's about 10 mph below the threshold needed for the storm to be reclassified as a hurricane. Eta is expected to reach that status later today or early tomorrow.
The current forecast track from the Hurricane Center suggests that Eta will move out into the Gulf of Mexico during the day today. In fact, the system may be forced a little further south before it begins a turn to the north as a category 1 hurricane on Tuesday.
The track guidance suggests the system will move almost due north for a day or so and then be influenced by an approaching cold front which should push the system into a landfall in the "big bend" of Florida. Basically, we are talking between Tampa Bay and Apalachicola.
As of this time, tropical model guidance suggests that Eta will be no threat to Louisiana's coastline. The center of circulation should stay well to the east. While most of the convection associated with the system should also stay well to the east. Meanwhile, South Louisiana residents can expect the arrival of a cold front later this week which should push Eta out into the Atlantic and perhaps close the door finally on Hurricane Season 2020.