Tropical storm Eta makes landfall in Cuba on route to Florida Keys

Storm caused devastation in Central America last week while still classified a hurricane

James Crump
Sunday 08 November 2020 19:05
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Pilot films time-lapse of Hurricane Laura from aircraft tail

Tropical Storm Eta is predicted to bring life-threatening flash flooding to Cuba, before strengthening on route to the Florida Keys.

Eta had maximum sustained wind speeds of 60mph when it made landfall in Cuba at around 7am on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Centre (NHC).

The tropical storm is expected to bring two feet of rain portions to Cuba, which is likely to lead to life-threatening flash floods and landslides across the country.

The storm is then expected to strengthen on Sunday afternoon and evening as it makes its way over the Gulf of Mexico towards the Florida Keys.

It is likely to strengthen to a hurricane overnight, before then making landfall in South Florida and the Florida Keys on Monday afternoon, according to USA Today.

A hurricane warning was issued on Sunday for the Florida Keys, according to CNN.

Florida governor Ron DeSantsis warned the state’s residents that they would need to get a week’s worth of supplies, after the National Hurricane Center director Ken Graham said the conditions might last for days.

“You’re going to be dealing with Eta all week,” Mr Graham said during a Facebook Live broadcast. “It’s going to take a lot to get this thing out of here,” he added.

Mr DeSantis also declared a state of emergency for eight counties in South Florida, “out of an abundance of caution”.

Key West, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers and West Palm Beach are all affected by the declaration.

Eta is scheduled to become the first storm to hit Florida this hurricane season, which has seen 27 other storms, the most since 2005.

While it was still a Category 4 Hurricane, Eta matched the strength of Hurricane Laura, reaching wind speeds of up to 150mph.

Eta caused devastation across Central America last week, as torrential rain caused mudslides that killed an estimated 100 people in Guatemala on Friday.

At least 50 houses were swallowed by mudslides; many of the dead were buried in them in the central region of Alta Verapaz, according to Guatemalan army spokesman Ruben Tellez.

In Honduras, at least 23 people were killed over the last week, while 5,000 were evacuated, as Eta caused “catastrophic flooding” in the area, according to the Associated Press.

Speaking at St Peter's Square, over the weekend, Pope Francis prayed for the “many victims” of the storm.

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