Eta makes landfall in Florida as a strong tropical storm

The city of Fort Lauderdale provided 200,000 pounds of sand to be used as sandbags on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. Photo courtesy city of Fort Lauderdale

Nov. 9 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Eta made landfall in the Florida Keys late Sunday after Gov. Ron DeSantis had declared a state of emergency ahead of its arrival.

Eta made landfall at around 11 p.m. in Lower Matecumbe, Fla., as a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, the National Weather Service said in a statement.

The forecasters said Eta, which is moving west-northwest at 14 mph over the Florida Straits, was located about 30 miles east-northeast of Marathon and 70 miles west-northeast of Key West.

DeSantis issued the state of emergency Saturday for the following counties: Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Palm Beach.

The National Hurricane Center said Eta is forecast to pass near or over the Florida Keys on Sunday night and early Monday before moving over southeastern Gulf of Mexico late Monday and Tuesday.

The center earlier said the storm was re-strengthening while moving over the Atlantic Ocean, and was expected to be near hurricane strength by the time it hit the Florida Keys. A tropical storm’s maximum sustained winds are at least 39 miles per hour. A hurricane is at least 74 mph.

A hurricane warning and storm surge warning has been issued for the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay. The center described the situation as “life threatening.”

The center says Eta is expected “to produce dangerous storm surge, flash floods and strong winds” over the Keys.

The National Weather Service Miami office predicted that Homestead to Fort Lauderdale could see 10 to 15 inches of rain through Wednesday, the Miami Herald reported.

A flood warning is in effect for portions of coastal/metro Broward, northern Miami-Dade and southern Palm Beach counties, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

In South Florida, a Hurricane Watch is in effect from Deerfield Beach to Bonita Beach.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Florida coast from Brevard/Volusia County line to Englewood, including Florida Bay; Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas and Lake Okeechobee

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Florida coast from north of Englewood to Anna Maria Island.

Monroe County announced evacuation orders for occupants of mobile homes and live-aboard vessels.

Florida Power and Light was warning its customers about outages.

“While uncertainty remains in the forecast, we are expecting widespread outages in parts of our service area,” FPL wrote on its website. “We are restoring outages as they occur. Please finalize your preparations and stay safe.”

Schools districts throughout South Florida have called off classes for Monday, including in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. In addition, Tri-Rail suspended service Sunday, as well as county bus service throughout the region.

No South Florida airports are closed, though some flights are experiencing delays.

On Saturday night, the Coast Guard set port condition Zulu for port of Key West, Miami, Everglades, Palm Beach and Fort Pierce, meaning no vessels may enter to transit within these ports without permissions of the captain of the port.

The Florida Department of Health closed coronavirus testing centers through at least Monday.


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