Travel Alert November 2020 Tropical Storm Eta: Hurricane Warnings Issued For Florida

If the Bahamas and southern Florida are in your travel plans over the few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to Tropical Storm Eta, whose next landfall is expected to occur as a hurricane at the Florida Keys as early as the overnight hours of Monday morning, November 9, 2020.

Travel Alert November 2020 Tropical Storm Eta: Hurricane Warnings Issued For Florida

Tropical Storm Eta

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

Maximum sustained winds of Tropical Storm Eta — which is currently centered approximately 145 miles southeast of Marathon in Florida and is moving north northwest at 17 miles per hour — are 65 miles per hour, which means that this storm is officially classified as a strong tropical storm; and despite earlier reports, it is now expected to strengthen again to become a hurricane within the next 18 hours as it heads away from central Cuba into the warm waters of the Straits of Florida.

Although the Bahamas is not expecting a direct landfall from this storm, northern portions of the country will feel its effects.

The third landfall of Tropical Storm Eta is expected to occur along the Florida Keys as early as the overnight hours after midnight tonight before it meanders into the Gulf of Mexico, where it is expected to remain as a hurricane for much of the remainder of the week prior to a possible fourth landfall as a named tropical system somewhere along the gulf coast of the United States.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect for the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, which includes Florida Bay.

A hurricane watch is currently in effect for Florida from Deerfield Beach to Bonita Beach.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for the provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Matanzas in Cuba; northwestern Bahamas, which includes the Abacos, Andros Island, Berry Islands, Bimini, Eleuthera, Grand Bahama Island, and New Providence; and the coast of Florida from the border which is shared by Brevard County and Volusia County to Englewood — including Florida Bay — and Lake Okeechobee in Florida.

A tropical storm watch is currently in effect for the provinces of La Habana, Artemisa, Mayabeque, Pinar del Rio, and the Isle of Youth in Cuba; and the coast of Florida from north of Englewood to Anna Maria Island.

A storm surge warning is in effect for the Florida Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas — including Florida Bay — while a storm surge watch is in effect for the coast of Florida from Golden Beach to Bonita Beach, which includes Biscayne Bay.

Up to 18 inches of precipitation, a storm surge of up to four feet, damaging winds, and electrical power outages are expected in portions of the southern half of Florida, which includes the Florida Keys and the Dry Tortugas; and an isolated tornado is not out of the question. Cuba, Jamaica, and the Bahamas can expect up to eight inches of additional rainfall, which can result in flooding.

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.

Much of Honduras and central and northern Nicaragua were inundated with winds of hurricane force, a storm surge of up to 18 feet, rough surf, and up to 35 inches of rain — and up to 50 inches of rain in higher elevations — which resulted in significantly catastrophic flash flooding in low lying areas; and deadly mudslides in higher terrain.

At least 57 people died from what was Hurricane Eta when it was a Category 4 hurricane; 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.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from the Bahamas and Florida over the next few 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.

Here are nine airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

Summary

The year 2005 was the most active year in recorded history in terms of 27 total named tropical systems, with Tropical Storm Zeta as the last storm of that season. Only one more named storm is needed for the year 2020 to break that record — and although the possibility is slight at this time, that may occur later this week.

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 adversely 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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