Tropical Storm Eta "Regains Strength" With South Florida In Path

Update (1907 ET): The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports at 1900 ET Saturday that Tropical Storm Eta is gaining strength with maximum sustained winds at 65 mph as it nears Cuba. 

After Cuba, Eta is expected to produce "hurricane-force winds" for the Florida Keys and South Florida, beginning as early as Sunday evening. 

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As of the 1000 ET advisory from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Tropical Storm Eta "regained strength" as it traverses the northwestern Caribbean Sea and will pass over or near Cuba, the Bahamas, and South Florida this weekend into early next week, bringing torrential rains, high winds, and potentially dangerous storm surge. 

Eta has 40 mph maximum sustained winds and is moving northeast at 17 mph. The storm's location is about 45 miles west-northwest of Grand Cayman.

Tropical storm warnings have been issued for Cayman Islands, Cuba, and the northwestern Bahamas islands, including Abacos, Grand Bahama Island, and Nassau. NHC expects tropical storm conditions in those areas this weekend. 

After Cuba, the storm is expected to curve towards the Gulf of Mexico, potentially passing over or near South Florida. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for much of South Florida. 

"Gradual strengthening is expected over the Caribbean Sea before Tropical Storm Eta reaches Cuba, but some vertical wind shear and dry air may limit its intensification," said The Weather Channel

The Miami office of the National Weather Service forecasts rainfall totals for South Florida could range between 10 to 15 inches through Wednesday. 

South Florida will start to experience Eta's tropical-storm-force winds as early as Sunday evening.  

As readers may recall, Eta has ravaged Central America, triggering deadly flooding and landslides. Here's our past coverage on Eta over the last week: