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Parts of Central Florida to experience strong winds, heavy rains, risk for isolated tornadoes starting tonight

Atlantic hurricane season

ORLANDO, Fla. — Eta continues to intensify as it approaches the west coast of Florida. Eta is the 28th-named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.

A Storm Surge Warning has been issued for the Florida west coast from Suwannee River to Bonita Beach, including Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor. A Storm Surge Warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in this case within 24 hours in the indicated locations

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles, mainly northeast of the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from its center.

Eta is forecast to make landfall early Thursday morning near Levy or Citrus County, likely as a tropical storm. Please, don’t underestimate Eta if it is a tropical storm, it will likely be a strong tropical storm that has a history of dumping lots of rain.

The winds will be strong this evening moving from the southeast as the storm approaches the west coast of Central Florida. Heavy rain bands are likely to start this evening, for parts of western Central Florida. During the early morning hours, the downpours will affect Orange County and counties to the east of Central Florida as the storm moves inland.

With the rain bands increasing starting tonight across Central Florida and us being in the “dirty side" of the system, there is the risk for isolated tornadoes to form across Central Florida.

Conditions will improve fast. We are expecting the winds to shift, from the west-southwest by Thursday afternoon and the rain will become more scarce.

Expect the weather to become more stable on Thursday, but it will be a very hot day.

7:45 a.m. update

The National Hurricane Center said Eta became a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday morning near the coast of southwest Florida, as the Hurricane Hunters reported maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and higher gusts.

Forecasters said Eta should weaken before it makes landfall in Florida.

Tropical storm warnings were issued for Marion, Sumter, Lake and Polk counties. Tropical storm watches were issued for Flagler and Volusia counties.

Meteorologist Brian Shields said there are signs that the storm is weakening.

For Central Florida, tropical storm conditions are possible Wednesday night into Thursday.

7:30 a.m. update

Hurricane hunters said Eta is becoming better organized as tropical storm-force winds approach the coast of southwest Florida.

The center of Eta is forecast to move closer to the coast of Florida Wednesday.

Weather officials said it will approach the west-central coast of Florida Wednesday night and move inland Thursday.

Eta is expected to move into the western Atlantic late Thursday or early Friday.

The storm’s winds are reaching 70 mph. It is expected to be near or at hurricane strength Wednesday night as it approaches the west coast of Florida.

Weather officials said it will weaken rapidly after landfall Thursday.

4:30 a.m. update A hurricane watch was issued for portions of the west coast of Florida as Tropical Storm Eta continues to intensify.

Tropical storm warnings were issued for Marion, Sumter, Lake and Polk counties. Tropical storm watches were issued for Flagler and Volusia counties.

Eta is forecast to move closer to the southwest coast of Florida Wednesday and approach the west-central coast of Florida Wednesday night.

It is expected to move inland over the northern portion of the Florida peninsula Thursday.

The storms winds have increased to 70 mph.

Eta is expected to be near or at hurricane strength Wednesday night as it approaches the west coast of Florida.

Forecasters said Eta should rapidly weaken after it makes landfall Thursday.

Meteorologist Brian Shields said Eta will bring more rain to Central Florida Wednesday night and into Thursday, along with some gusty/squally weather throughout the day.

Tropical storm conditions will be possible in Central Florida Thursday, with an isolated tornado threat.

He said Eta’s speed has picked up overall, so after Thursday things will go back to normal.

 

This article was originally published on wftv.com

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