Miami, Fl.(Florida News Network)- At 700 PM EST, the center of Tropical Storm Eta was located by an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft near latitude 27.9 North, longitude 83.4 West, about 45 miles west of St. Petersburg, 55 miles west of Tampa.
Eta is moving toward the north near 12 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue overnight, followed by a turn toward the north-northeast and northeast Thursday morning. On the forecast track, the center of Eta will move closer to but just offshore of the west-central coast of Florida tonight, and move inland over the northern portion of the Florida peninsula on Thursday. Eta is expected to move northeastward into the western Atlantic late Thursday and early Friday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Slow weakening is expected as Eta approaches the west coast of Florida tonight, followed by rapid weakening after landfall occurs on Thursday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center. During the past couple of hours, a C-MAN observing station at Venice Beach measured a sustained wind of 47 mph. A Weatherflow site at the Skyway fishing pier recently reported a sustained wind of 43 mph and a gust to 55 mph. Another Weatherflow site at Clam Bayou Nature Preserve, near St. Petersburg, just reported a gust of 51 mph.
The minimum central pressure reported by the Hurricane Hunters is 993 mb (29.32 inches).
A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for Bonita Beach to Suwanee River Florida, including Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Bonita Beach to Suwannee River Florida
A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for Steinhatchee River to Suwannee River Florida
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for North of the Suwannee River to Aucilla River Florida.
Eta is expected to produce the following rainfall totals: West and central Florida, through Thursday: 2 to 4 inches, with maximum storm total accumulations of 6 inches.
North and South Florida, through Thursday: An additional 1 to 2 inches, with isolated maximum storm total accumulations of 4 inches in North Florida and 20 inches in South Florida.
Flash and urban flooding will be possible in South Florida through Thursday, especially across previously inundated areas. Flash, urban, and isolated minor river flooding is expected across portions of West and North Florida through Thursday.
A few tornadoes are possible through tonight over parts of western and central Florida.
Data and graphic credit: National Hurricane Center