Prior to Eta, Florida had escaped an official landfall from a tropical system in 2020. Post Eta, Florida has seen two landfalls, both by the same storm.
Eta will continue to pull away from Central Florida, but gusty winds will continue through early Friday.
Eta’s crazy track
Eta didn’t take a direct path to the Sunshine State. Eta developed on Nov. 1 and rapidly intensified into a strong Category 4 hurricane. The storm devastated parts of Central America before weakening into a tropical depression. The storm lifted north and east making another landfall in Cuba. After a third landfall in the Keys, the storm dipped south, just to double back toward Florida. Eta briefly regained hurricane status before weakening and making a fourth landfall in Cedar Key, Florida.
More development likely
Another disturbance in the Caribbean has a high chance for development over the coming days. In the short term this could follow a path similar to Eta and impact Central America again. The environment in this part of the world remains very favorable and we could once again see a quickly intensifying storm. The next name on the list is Iota.
A record breaking season
This year officially broke the record for most named storms in a season with the formation of Theta in the far eastern Atlantic. Theta became the 29th named storm of the season surpassing 28 named storms in 2005. We will likely add to the record by the weekend or early next week.
It is important to note that from an intensity standpoint, 2005 is still far and away the more intense season, although 2020 also has set the record for most landfalling tropical systems in the U.S. in terms of ACE, or accumulated cyclone energy, 2020 has generated a number of 164 to date while 2005 generated an ACE of 245 for that season. In the 2005, that season carried over into January of 2006.
Regardless hurricane season is not over and there is likely to be even more activity in the Atlantic, possibly carrying into December, after the official end to the season Nov. 30.