Forecasters dropped Tropical Storm warnings for Eta as the system pushed into the Gulf of Mexico on Monday, but heavy rains continued to drench Key Biscayne. Street flooding was widespread, but officials said there were no reports of major damage or power outages.
A NOAA weather station on Virginia Key reported a peak gust of about 40 miles-per-hour around 5:30 this morning. The rainfall total at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School clocked in at 2.8 inches for Eta, far less than some other spots in South Florida. “Very little rain in the Virginia Key and Key Biscayne area, just by luck,” said Rosenstiel meteorologist Brian McNoldy.
“We were spared the worst,” said Mayor Mike Davey on Twitter.
But the flooding remained problematic, even with the less-than-predicted rainfall total.
“We’re getting a lot of texts and calls,” said Public Works chief Jake Ozyman. “Everything is functioning, but the system is overwhelmed. It’s just limited.”
Village Manager Andrea Agha said employees were doing a superb job and expected to deploy mobile pumps to remaining critical areas.
“It’s not going to move the needle for the general public, I’m afraid,” Agha said. “We are just going to have to wait for Mother Nature to let the tides recede. And we should look forward to (drainage system) improvements that are under way.”
As for Eta, federal forecasters said the system is being weakened by dry air, with less intense thunderstorm activity. It has started a turn to the southwest, and may stall. Experts forecast an additional 2-4 inches of rain for South Florida, and warned that flash flooding is still possible because of saturated ground.
“Steering currents are forecast to collapse by 36-48 hours, causing Eta to possibly stall and/or make a small loop just northwest of western Cuba,” said senior hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart.
At 10 a.m, Eta had maximum sustained winds of 60 miles-per-hour, and was located about 30 miles west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas and was moving southwest at 14 miles per hour.
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