Eta, which killed dozens in the Caribbean and was earlier a tropical depression, strengthened to a tropical storm Saturday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A tropical storm warning was issued for swaths of South Florida’s coast, from Golden Beach to Chokoloskee and the Florida Keys. The tropical storm warning means storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.
The warning is also in effect for the Cayman Islands, certain Cuban provinces and the northwestern Bahamas.
Eastern parts of South Florida are under a tropical storm watch, including coast up to the Brevard and Volusia County lines. On Florida’s west coast, there is a tropical storm watch up to Englewood, according to the National Hurricane Center. The watch means conditions are expected within 48 hours.
Eta is moving northeast and expected to head in that direction through early Sunday, turning north and northwest Sunday afternoon. The storm will likely get to South Florida Sunday night and Monday.
The maximum sustained winds as of Saturday morning are about 40 miles per hour and expected to strengthen Sunday night. Eta’s storm surge, in combination with high tide, could give coastal areas from North Miami Beach to the Volusia and Flagler county line waters as high as two to three feet, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tampa Bay will likely start to see rain later Sunday afternoon, said National Weather Service meteorologist Richard Rude. Winds will be breezy, strengthening on Sunday evening to about 30 miles per hour. People on area lakes are advised to use caution because of the winds, Rude said.