SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - Eta has been downgraded to a tropical depression with winds now at 35 mph. Whatever is left of the circulation is expected to emerge back into the NW Caribbean on Friday and regenerate into a tropical storm on Saturday south of Cuba.
Late Friday it will move toward SW Cuba and then on Sunday into the Florida Straits where it is expected to stay a tropical storm and bring some heavy rain and possible some tropical storm force winds to the Florida Keys and S. Florida. Conditions are not favorable for this storm to develop much over the weekend and through the work week due to wind shear and some drier air surrounding the storm.
Reliable forecast models continue to struggle with where it will go after Sunday. The latest GFS keeps it down near the Keys for 3 days while the EURO pushes west out to the central Gulf early next week. The the 5 day cone of uncertainty remains over our area for now but that may change with future forecast model runs between now and the weekend as models sort things out.
Whatever the case may be, the worst case scenario for us would be some heavy rain, low to medium tropical storm force winds (40-50 mph) Monday and Tuesday. If the storm does follow the EURO solution then we would only see the potential for some heavy rain during those days and some windy conditions.
It isn’t going to be a monster storm due to the hostile environment it has to move through but a minimal tropical storm can cause problems with flooding and some power outages. You should continue to monitor the storms progress over the weekend by watching ABC7, MySuncoast.com and on your mobile device with our First Alert Weather app.
Thursday expect mostly sunny skies and warmer temperatures. The high will be around 85 and the humidity will start to rise through the day. Winds will be brisk out of the NE at 15-20 mph.
Friday look for partly cloudy skies and a 30% chance for a few late day showers. It will be warm and muggy for Friday with temperatures in the mid 80′s and feels like in the low 90′s by the mid afternoon.
The weekend is a bit up in the air right now. It all depends upon how strong Eta is and where it is. Right now I am calling for partly cloudy skies on Saturday and a good chance for scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the afternoon and early evening. The rain chance on Saturday stands at 40%. It will be a windy weekend with winds out of the ENE at 15-20 mph and gusts up to 30 mph.
Sunday calls for more clouds than sun along with a 50% chance for showers and some isolated thunderstorms the high on Sunday in the mid 80′s once again.
For boaters on Thursday expect mostly sunny skies and winds out of the NE at 10-15 knots and seas 2-4 feet with a moderate chop on the waters.