West Florida was hit by tropical storm winds and heavy rain for most of Wednesday. And officials in areas like St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Madeira Beach have already responded to reports of torn roofs and flooded streets.
Eta briefly intensified into a hurricane Wednesday morning, but then weakened into a tropical storm with a 60 mph wind, according to the NHC. Hurricane watch for parts of the west coast of Florida was lifted, but tropical storm warnings remained for Englewood to Suwannee River, Florida and for the Flagler / Volusia County Florida line.
In addition to the winds with tropical gale force and up to gusts with hurricane force, much of west and central Florida is received 1 to 3 more According to CNN meteorologist Michael Guy, there will be just a few inches of precipitation by Thursday up to the more than 6 inches some areas have already received in the past 24 hours.
The onshore gust of wind will result in a storm surge of 2 to 5 feet on much of the west coast of Florida, including the highly vulnerable area in Tampa Bay. The water level is already 2 to 3 feet above normal and the water will continue to accumulate for the next several hours.
“Cedar Key, north of where the landing is expected, is already reporting minor flooding prior to landing,” said Guy.
The tropical storm is expected to resolve over the western Atlantic by the weekend, the NHC said.
The 2020 hurricane season in the Atlantic was particularly active. It has set the record for the most named storms in a single season with 29 so far.