MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Hurricane Watch is in effect for South Florida as Tropical Storm Eta is forecast to be near hurricane strength as it moves across South Florida Sunday night.
High winds, storm surge, widespread flooding, tree damage & power outages are expected.
Eta was about 100 miles southwest of the coast of central Cuba on Saturday evening. It had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and headed northeast at 14 mph.
The National Hurricane Center said Eta is expected to have a large area of strong winds and squally weather extending well outside the center of circulation.
Officials said tropical storm conditions are most likely to arrive Sunday evening, then continue through Monday evening, with conditions gradually improving on Tuesday.
South Florida residents were urged to complete preparations by midday Sunday at the latest.
Strong winds will contribute to storm surge and overwash along shorelines beginning Sunday night.
Weather forecasters said tidal anomalies are running about three-quarters of a foot above normal, and Eta could result in one to two additional feet of saltwater flooding.
Heavy rainfall of 6 to 12 inches with isolated maximum totals near 18 inches may cause significant rainwater flooding, including areas not impacted by storm surge.
Isolated tornadoes will also be possible as Eta approaches and moves through the Keys from Sunday night through Monday night.
Eta’s moisture will continue to spread over the rest of South Florida through Sunday. The core of the deep moisture will move through the area late Sunday and Monday, so these two days will have the highest threat for flooding.
There is a particular concern for that given that the soil is saturated from the wet weather last month. It will not take much to cause flooding over the region especially over the east coast metro areas. At this time, it looks like 5 to 10 inches are possible over the east coast metro areas with locally higher amounts where showers and thunderstorms train through Tuesday.
Therefore, the Flash Flood Watch will be in effect through Tuesday evening.