Tropical Storm Eta grew in strength Saturday, causing officials to add a formal Hurricane Watch for Key Biscayne and much of South Florida on top of an existing Tropical Storm Warning. As of 10 p.m.. Saturday. winds were 65 miles per hour as the system headed to the coast of Cuba.
Eta has already caused weather to worsen over Florida, and tropical-storm force winds could arrive Sunday afternoon, but are more likely to happen late Sunday night, according forecast graphics from the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters also revised the predicted path of Eta, calling for an even sharper turn to the left, or west, after it crosses Cuba, and Senior Hurricane Specialist Eric Blake didn’t rule out even more of a westward and even southward shift. But. he cautioned that Eta is still forecast to bring dangerous conditions to Florida.
“Even if the forecast does shift farther south, tropical-storm-force winds will likely cover much of the southern and central Florida peninsula due to the expected growth of Eta,” Blake said.
Eta is still forecast to be near hurricane strength when it approaches Florida, Blake said.
In Key Biscayne, Fire Chief Eric Lang urged residents to complete preparations for Eta, noting that flooding is expected because of up to 15 inches of rain and two to three feet of storm surge.
“If the water is high enough, some of the lower homes will likely have wakes created by the cars that are moving, around, and we could have some water damage.” He said that history shows that if rainfall exceeds more than one inch per hour, flooded streets are likely.
The Village has set up a first-come, first served sandbag distribution site at the Beach Park for residents to help protect their property.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has declared a state of emergency, which triggers many other closures and cancellations.
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