The National Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm watch Tuesday for portions of Florida’s west coast.
The NHC’s latest models suggest Tropical Storm Eta shifted eastwards while on its way to Florida for a second time this week. The watch is in effect from Englewood northward to Suwannee River.
A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.
“Tropical-storm-force winds are possible along portions of the Florida Gulf Coast by Thursday afternoon,” forecasters said.
Meanwhile, the storm will continue toward the Panhandle this weekend as a weakening tropical storm or a tropical depression. No watches or warnings have been issued for the region.
The storm, regardless of status, is expected to bring heavy rains, winds and storm surge.
“Interests in this area should continue to monitor the progress of Eta and updates to the forecast this week,” the NHC advised.
As of 4 p.m., Eta was located about 90 miles north of Cuba and packing 60 mph maximum sustained winds that extend 60 miles from the storm’s center.
Eta is traveling north at 7 mph.