In this infrared satellite image, Tropical Storm Eta moves from Cuba into the Florida Straits, Sun., Nov. 8, 2020. Forecasters predict Eta will become a hurricane as it nears the Florida Keys and Miami. (NOAA via KBI)
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say Tropical Storm Eta’s center passed over Cuba and re-emerged into the Florida Straits Sunday morning, and predicted Eta will achieve Category 1 Hurricane status as it nears the Florida Keys. Parks, schools and other institutions started closing in advance of the storm.
A new Hurricane Warning covers the Keys all the way to Ocean Reef. Forecasters also added a storm surge watch for Biscayne Bay, where 2-to-4 feet of storm surge is predicted along with 6-to-12 inches of rain.
At 10 a.m., Eta was 235 miles south-southeast of Miami, moving north at 14 miles-per-hour. Tops winds were 65 miles-per-hour with higher gusts.
Eta’s track remains hard to predict, said Senior Hurricane Specialist Stacy Stewart. He said steering currents are weak and that the storm’s path will slow down and the system could possibly stall near the Florida Keys.
In Key Biscayne, conditions continue to worsen with occasional heavy downpours and increasing winds. Tropical-storm force winds are expected to arrive late afternoon or tonight, according to the official forecast.
Miami-Dade Public Schools announced that both online and in-person classes are cancelled for Monday. Miami-Dade College announced suspension of classes today and Monday. Metrobus service will stop at 2 p.m. Sunday. Miami-Dade County parks are closed. Most bridges have been locked down. States of emergency have been declared at both the state and county level.
Village officials said that because of previous rain, the ground in the island is very saturated, increasing the likelihood of flooding. Flooding would be worst before and during high tide. High tide is forecast today at 2:38 p.m., Monday at 2:57 a.m. and 3:39 p.m
Tony Winton is the editor-in-chief of the Key Biscayne Independent and president of Miami Fourth Estate, Inc. He worked previously at The Associated Press for three decades winning multiple Edward R. Murrow awards. He was president of the News Media Guild, a journalism union, for 10 years. Born in Chicago, he is a graduate of Columbia University. His interests are photography and technology, sailing, cooking, and science fiction.