Hurricane Eta Threatens Florida’s Gulf Coast

By Madeline Holcombe.

Eta strengthened again to a Category 1 hurricane over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday morning, and it could soon veer toward Florida bringing heavy downpours and dangerous flash flooding, river flooding and landslides.

Hurricane watches are in effect from Anna Maria Island to Yankeetown, Florida, meaning hurricane conditions are possible in the area within the next 24 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Maximum sustained winds are now 75 mph, with higher gusts. The storm is 170 miles from Tampa, according to the National Hurricane Center. Some further strengthening is possible today, and Eta will likely be near or above hurricane force when it makes landfall Thursday along Florida’s Gulf Coast.
Eta’s is now set for landfall along the Big Bend of Florida, just to the east of Ocala, late Thursday or early Friday morning, CNN Meteorologist Michael Guy said.
Whatever the wind strength at landfall, Eta is a rainmaker, Guy said.
This would be the storm’s fourth landfall. Eta first made landfall in Central America last week and as a Category 4 hurricane, then in Cuba and in Lower Matecumbe Key late Sunday.