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South Florida Keeps Wary Eye On Eta's Roller Coaster-Like Path

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National Hurricane Center

Southern portions of the greater Tampa Bay region could begin to see impacts as early as late Sunday night.

What is now Tropical Depression Eta continues to dump devastating amounts of rain on Central America on Thursday morning, but South Florida will be in its cross-hairs by early next week.

That’s after Eta makes a quick about-face, exiting Honduras and making a beeline toward Cuba before emerging in the Straits of Florida and veering left into the southern Gulf of Mexico – and near the Florida Keys.

That topsy-turvy track from the National Hurricane Center would take Eta somewhere near Key West by midnight on Tuesday, and all of South Florida still remains in the cone of uncertainty.

Heavy rain and flooding is becoming an increasing risk over portions of Florida this weekend into next week, according to Ray Hawthorne, meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network.

“Eta has a good chance to regain tropical storm strength in the northwest Caribbean (Friday) or Saturday,” Hawthorne said. “There are a variety of possibilities regarding its future path, but many of those possibilities would include a heavy rainfall risk, especially for South Florida.”

Hawthorne said around a foot of rain is not out of the question in South Florida, depending on the track of Eta.

On its current track, forecasters with the National Weather Service say portions of the greater Tampa Bay region – primarily to the south -- could begin to see impacts late Sunday into early next week.