Travel Alert November 2020: Next Landfall For Hurricane Eta To Be in Florida

After the third landfall of Tropical Storm Eta occurred just southwest of Islamorada late at night on Sunday, November 8, 2020 — which was only the first landfall of a named tropical system in the state of Florida in 2020 — and with the storm back out over the open warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Hurricane Eta has strengthened again and is heading for a fourth landfall in western Florida, which may occur as soon as the morning of tomorrow, Thursday, November 12, 2020.

Travel Alert November 2020: Next Landfall For Hurricane Eta To Be in Florida

Hurricane Eta

Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Eta — which is currently centered approximately 145 miles south southwest of Tampa and is moving north northeast at 10 miles per hour — are 75 miles per hour, which means that this storm is officially classified as a minimal hurricane; and although it could further strengthen prior to its fourth landfall, it is forecast to weaken to a tropical storm by the time landfall occurs.

After not experiencing the landfall of a named tropical system all season long, the state of Florida will have experienced two landfalls from the same storm — as well as feet of rain in some areas, which has resulted in significant flooding. Up to four additional inches of precipitation can fall in certain local areas of Florida.

Additionally, the storm surge may reach as much as five feet in some areas — including Tampa Bay. A tornado or two is not out of the question, either.

Even rats are fending for themselves.

Ron DeSantis — who is the current governor of Florida — has announced what the state of Florida is doing to prepare once again for Hurricane Eta.

All of the following official watches and warnings have been issued for within the state of Florida:

A hurricane watch is in effect from Anna Maria Island to Yankeetown.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Dry Tortugas — as well as from Bonita Beach to Suwannee River — while a tropical storm watch is in effect from north of the Suwannee River to Aucilla River.

A storm surge warning is in effect from Bonita Beach to Suwanee River — which includes Tampa Bay
and Charlotte Harbor — while a storm surge watch is in effect from Steinhatchee River to Suwannee River.

Once Tropical Storm Eta crosses the northern part of the state of Florida, it is expected to head out to sea over the Atlantic Ocean as a tropical depression with no additional threats of landfalls — but the east coast of the United States will still experience rain, rough seas, and possible storm surges.

The third landfall of Tropical Storm Eta occurred just southwest of Islamorada in Florida late at night on Sunday, November 8, 2020. The second landfall of Tropical Storm Eta occurred along the south central coast of Cuba earlier this morning, Sunday, November 8, 2020; whereas the first landfall of this tropical system occurred as a major Category 4 hurricane shortly after noon on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 in Bilwi in Puerto Cabezas, which is located on the northeastern coast of Nicaragua before moving northwest into Honduras towards Guatemala and Belize, leaving behind widespread destruction to infrastructure.

At least 200 people died from what was Hurricane Eta when it was a Category 4 hurricane — 57 of those deaths occurred in Honduras alone — and at least 100 people are still missing in Central America, with hundreds more evacuated from their homes. Approximately 150 houses in Guatemala were buried; and searches for missing people were discontinued in that country.

Summary

If you are traveling to or from western Florida over the next couple of days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. However, no airlines have issued travel alerts for central and northern portions of Florida as a result of this tropical weather system at the time this article was written. The latest travel alerts are found in this article.

The year 2020 is now the most active year in recorded history in terms of 29 total named tropical systems — the latest being Tropical Storm Theta.

I personally believe that the National Weather Service of the United States and other official weather authorities should consider using the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z to name tropical systems — especially with the inclusion of names which are not common in the United States. Quincy, Ursula, Xavier, Yvonne, and Zachary all come immediately to my mind to name storms which usually do not require those letters during a typical season. Only once the entire alphabet has been exhausted should the characters of the Greek alphabet be used…

…and ironically, the Greek alphabet uses a name which begins with the letter Z. Why not use one of the aforementioned names which begin with the letter Z?

As far as I know, the name of a tropical system after a character of the Greek alphabet has never been retired. What happens if a storm is strong enough to warrant the name being retired and it is named after a character of the Greek alphabet?

Anyway, be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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