Election season may be nearing an end but the 2020 hurricane season is still in full swing as the 28th named storm of the season, Tropical Storm Eta, continues to wreak havoc as it lashes Central America.
Although Eta is weakening over land it is expected to head into the Caribbean on Friday and make a turn for the northeast.
Some models show the weather system reorganizing over the Caribbean Sea and heading straight for the Florida Straits.
Eta is expected to regain strength over the Caribbean Sea and could approach South Florida this weekend after bringing flooding rainfall to Central America
Eta will continue to weaken as it moves over Central America on Thursday. Over the weekend, the storm is expected to track towards the northeast
It is possible the storm could strike Cuba on Sunday and South Florida by Monday.
Should Eta make landfall in the U.S., it would break the record of 12 for highest number of named storms in a season.
Similarly, if it became a hurricane again, it would break the record for the most hurricanes to make landfall in the U.S. in one season.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tropical Storm Eta was located inland near the Honduras-Nicaragua border and appeared to be still moving west into Central America and weaken into tropical depression where the storm will likely cause flash flooding from torrential rains.
The storm system is predicted to pass over south Florida as tropical storm, Sunday or Monday
Hurricane Eta sustained winds of 105mph but reached 140mph in places, the National Hurricane Center reported
However, the storm is expected to turn right and head back out over the warm waters of the Caribbean where it could well strengthen once again.
The storm is the strongest hurricane of the year.
On Saturday, the storm may cross Cuba as a tropical storm before heading for South Florida.
It is still unknown how strong Eta will be and what impact it will have on the region.
At least 3 inches of rainfall is predicted in south Florida over the course of the next few days
Large amounts of rainfall are expected in Belize, Guatemala, Nicaragua and parts of Cuba
Some models show the storm landing as a tropical storm or a lower category hurricane.
While some models predict a direct hit, others show the storm simply sweeping over the Florida Keys.
After South Florida, some models show the storm heading back into the Gulf of Mexico where the storm might once again regain some power, although it is still too early to know if it will make landfall along the Gulf Coast.
This GeoColor satellite image taken Tuesday and provided by NOAA, shows Hurricane Eta in the Caribbean Sea, arriving at Nicaragua’s northern shore. Eta inched closer on Tuesday as a Category 4 storm
View of the Pedro de Tela beach during heavy winds caused by Eta Hurricane, at the Caribbean sea 186 miles north of Tegucigalpa, Honduras yesterday
Storm Eta pummeled Nicaragua and Honduras with torrential rain on Wednesday after triggering major floods and landslides in Central America, reportedly killing at least three people and stranding dozens of fishermen in the Atlantic.
Eta, one of the most powerful storms to strike Central America in years, hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, before weakening to a tropical storm as it forged inland in the impoverished country.
In its wake, the storm has left a whole swathe of damaged homes, roads and key infrastructure, while thousands of people have been evacuated.
About 60 fishermen were trapped out at sea in the eastern Mosquitia region of Honduras, possibly taking shelter on Caribbean keys, said Robin Morales, a representative of the local population.
Heavy rains brought by Hurricane Eta, in Bilwi, Nicaragua yesterday
A man fixes the roof of a home surrounded by floodwaters brought on by Hurricane Eta in Wawa, Nicaragua yesterday
A boat was sent on Wednesday to collect the body of one fishermen, who died from a heart attack, but the Navy will be needed to rescue others, Morales said.
So far, the Navy has not been able to attempt a rescue due to the dangerous conditions, said Douglas Espinal, head of the fire department in the port of Puerto Lempira.
The deluge was so extreme in the northern Honduran city of El Progreso that a prison was flooded to waist level, a wall collapsed and the facility’s 604 inmates were transferred to local gyms, police commissioner Juan Molina told local television.
The storm weakened in intensity around noon on Wednesday but it continued to produce ‘life-threatening flash flooding’ in parts of Central America, the NHC said.
Nicaraguan media reported that two wildcat miners were killed by a mudslide. In Honduras, a 12-year-old girl died in a landslide on her home, the fire department said.
A woman takes cattle to a safe area yesterday in El Triunfo de la Cruz, Tela, Honduras
A woman and her daughter watch the big sea waves and heavy winds caused by Eta Hurricane, at Tela port in the Caribbean sea, 186 miles north of Tegucigalpa yesterday
By 12 noon local time, Eta was blowing winds of 45 miles mph, the NHC said. It was grinding through Nicaragua about 125 miles north-northeast of Nicaragua’s capital Managua, moving westward at 7 mph.
Eta could dump 10-20 inches of rain on central and northern Nicaragua and much of Honduras, with up to 40 inches in some areas, according to the latest NHC forecast.
The storm knocked down trees and power lines and caused serious flooding in northern Nicaragua, national disaster management agency SINAPRED said Tuesday. Still, Vice President Rosario Murillo said the initial damage was less than feared.
In Honduras, rivers burst their banks, towns and cities on the Atlantic coast flooded, and landslides hit roads.
In Guatemala, the rains felled trees and unleashed landslides onto roads, authorities said.
Through Sunday, flash and river flooding is also possible across Jamaica, southeast Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti, and the Cayman Islands, NHC said.
A handout photo made available by the Honduran Fire Department that shows rescue work in a flooded area due to Hurricane Eta in the community of Saba, Honduras yesterday
A resident checks a flooded street as Hurricane Eta approaches, in Tela, Honduras yesterday
A family rests in a shelter a day they had their shacks and houses flooded by the overflow of the river Lancetilla yesterday in Tela, Honduras