Tracking the Tropics: Eta forecast to strengthen as it heads for South Florida

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Eta, now a tropical depression with 35 mph winds, is forecast to strengthen as it moves northeastward over the Caribbean and toward Cuba and Florida this weekend.

Eta, once a powerful Category 4 hurricane, weakened to a tropical depression Wednesday, but is still bringing heavy rains and life-threatening flooding to parts of Central America on Friday, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm set off mudslides in Nicaragua and Honduras and is believed to have killed dozens of people.

At 5 a.m. ET Friday, Eta was about 180 miles north-northwest of La Cieba, Honduras with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It was moving north at 8 mph.

The system is forecast to become a tropical storm on Friday with further strengthening possible.

The forecast track shows the system crossing the northwestern Caribbean Sea Friday, nearing the Cayman Islands Saturday, and Cuba Saturday night and Sunday.

Eta’s remnants could dump 10 to 20 inches of rain on the Cayman Islands and portions of Cuba. The Bahamas and South Florida could see 5 to 10 inches of rain.

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