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Eta strengthens into a hurricane, storm has sights set on Gulf Coast of Florida

Tropical Storm Eta has sights set on Gulf Coast of Florida
Posted at 7:48 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 10:32:59-05

Eta strengthened into a hurricane on Wednesday morning, about a day ahead of its scheduled landfall on the Florida Gulf Coast.

Scripps station WFTS in Florida reports that Eta now has wind speeds of at least 74 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane.

After several days of uncertainty regarding the path of Eta, officials with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) now project that the storm will make landfall on the west coast of Florida.

According to a 5 a.m. update from the NHC, Eta could make landfall with hurricane-force winds as early as Thursday afternoon.

Several communities on the Gulf Coast of Florida have issued hurricane warnings ahead of Eta's arrival. The NHC says Floridians between Bonita Beach and the Suwanee River could experience tropical storm winds later this week.

The NHC also says that many parts of Florida's west coast, including the Tampa Bay area, could see "life-threatening" storm surge.

Eta has already killed dozens of people after heavy rains and winds triggered landslides in Honduras and Guatemala last week. The wildly unpredictable storm has been churning in the Gulf of Mexico for several days as spaghetti models showed a wide variance in its projected paths.

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Scripps National Desk
1:29 PM, Dec 17, 2018

2020 STORM NAMES

Arthur

Bertha

Cristobal

Dolly

Edouard

Fay

Gonzalo

Hanna

Isaias

Josephine

Kyle

Laura

Marco

Nana

Omar

Paulette

Rene

Sally

Teddy

Vicky

Wilfred

TERMS TO KNOW

TROPICAL STORM WATCH: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are possible within the specified coastal area within 48 hours.

TROPICAL STORM WARNING: An announcement that tropical storm conditions (sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph) are expected within the specified coastal area within 36 hours.

HURRICANE WATCH: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are possible somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane watch is issued 48 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.

HURRICANE WARNING: An announcement that hurricane conditions (sustained winds of 74 mph or higher) are expected somewhere within the specified coastal area. A hurricane warning is issued 36 hours in advance of the anticipated onset of tropical-storm-force winds.