Florida waits as Tropical Storm Eta 'meanders' in Gulf of Mexico


Tropical Storm Eta remained almost stationary Tuesday in the Gulf of Mexico, continuing to bring rain to South Florida and swells along the state’s west coast, as forecasters wait for the system to move north, possibly into the Panhandle later in the week.

The National Hurricane Center pointed to the system meandering Tuesday afternoon off the western coast of Cuba, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

“The official forecast track calls for Eta to basically move slowly northward through the 120-(hour) forecast period and gradually weaken into a shallow cyclone that drifts northward,” the center said. Some weakening is expected as the system encounters drier mid-level air and cooler sea surface temperatures, the center said.

A midday Tuesday forecast from the center had the system making landfall, possibly as a tropical storm, somewhere between Florida’s Big Bend and eastern Louisiana by Sunday morning, with the center of the cone of probability just east of Pensacola.

The state Division of Emergency Management, meanwhile, said COVID-19 testing sites reopened Tuesday in Broward and Miami-Dade counties after being closed Monday because of impacts of Eta.

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