Eta’s projected path shifted late Wednesday, prompting watches and warnings across portions of Central Florida.
As of Wednesday morning, Tropical Storm Eta was 130 miles west-southwest of Fort Myers, dumping rain and packing 70 mph winds as it moved north-northeast at 15 mph. The storm briefly reached hurricane status before being downgraded Wednesday afternoon.
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Computer models show Eta, weakened back to a tropical storm, making landfall Thursday north of Tampa and tracking across the state, south of Jacksonville. Several Central Florida counties are under tropical storm warnings and watches.
Lake, Marion and Sumter counties are under a tropical storm warning and can expect 2-4 inches of rain over the next couple of days, with winds gusting to 45-55 mph.
A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 24 hours.
“The good news is that it will move in and out fairly quickly,” News 6 meteorologist Troy Bridges said. “We’ll see the impacts Thursday, all day, but then things are much better.”
For Central Florida’s inland counties, Orange, Osceola, Polk and Seminole, there’s a low possibility of a spin-up tornado as Eta pushes through Florida. Winds will gust from 30-45 mph, with 1-3 inches or rain possible.
Coastal zones, including Brevard, Flagler and Volusia counties, will see 1-3 inches of rain, with minor flooding and beach erosion possible. Winds will be 30-40 mph.
“High seas will also be a concern,” Bridges said.
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