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Thread: Tropical storm Eta pounds Central America, heads toward Florida

  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    Tropical storm Eta pounds Central America, heads toward Florida

    SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras (AP) ? The rain-heavy remnants of Hurricane Eta flooded homes from Panama to Guatemala Thursday as the death toll across Central America rose to at least 57, and aid organizations warned the flooding and mudslides were creating a slow-moving humanitarian disaster across the region.

    The storm that hit Nicaragua as a mighty Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday had become more of a vast tropical rainstorm, but it was advancing so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America remained on high alert. Forecasters said the now-tropical depression was expected to regather and head toward Cuba and possibly the Gulf of Mexico by early next week.

    On Thursday afternoon, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said a water-soaked mountainside in the central part of the country had slid down onto the town of San Cristobal Verapaz, burying homes and leaving at least 25 dead.

    Two other slides in Huehuetenango had killed at least 12 more, he said. The president initially said more than 50 people had died in slides, but the individual incidents he cited did not reach that total. Later, David de Le?n, spokesman for the national disaster agency, said there were reports of 50 people missing in the Verapaz slide, but government rescue teams had not reached the site.

    Earlier Thursday, five others had been killed in smaller slides in Guatemala.

    Giammattei said on that 60% of the eastern city of Puerto Barrios was flooded and 48 more hours of rain was expected.

    Guatemala?s toll was on top of 13 victims in Honduras and two in Nicaragua. Panamanian authorities reported eight missing.

    Eta had sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) and was moving north at 8 mph (13 kph) Thursday. It was centered 85 miles (140 kilometers) northwest of La Ceiba, Honduras.

    In Honduras, National Police said Thursday that six more bodies had been found, bringing that country?s toll to 13. The bodies of two adults and two children were found after excavations in a mudslide that occurred Wednesday in the township of Gualala, and two boys aged 8 and 11 died in another mudslide in El N?spero.

    Earlier, residents found the body of a girl buried in a landslide Wednesday in mountains outside the north coast city of Tela. In the same area, a landslide buried a home with a mother and two children inside it, according to Honduras Fire Department spokesman ?scar Triminio. He said there was also a 2-year-old girl killed in Santa Barbara department when she was swept away by floodwaters.

    Hundreds of residents of San Pedro Sula neighborhoods had to abandon their homes before dawn Thursday when water from the Chamelecon river arrived at their doorsteps.

    Miguel Angel Beltran, a security guard from the city?s Planeta neighborhood, said his district was lost and many people were missing or drowned.

    ?We rescued my brothers, all the family from a balcony, a three-story building,? he said. ?How is it possible that a government has done nothing to warn people.?

    His family lost everything and had nowhere to go, he said. The few boats rescuing people had no motors and struggled against the current, he said.

    Marvin Aparicio of Honduras? emergency management agency said 41 communities have been cut off by washed out roads.

    Luis Alonso Salas, a 45-year-old construction worker, stood on high ground at a gas station where people who fled their homes picked over a pile of donated clothing.

    ?It was terrible, I lost my whole house, I couldn?t take anything,? he said. At 1 a.m. water was up to his neck. He said others in his neighborhood were still waiting for rescuers in boats from atop their roofs.

    Maite Matheu, country director for the international humanitarian organization CARE, said Thursday that some 2 million Hondurans could be directly impacted by the storm.

    ?The situation that we are seeing today is very, very alarming,? she said. ?Mainly the people and families that need to be evacuated right now. There are dozens of families in some towns in the Sula valley who are on their roofs and are asking to be evacuated.?

    She said Honduras? government did not have the capacity to rescue people.

    Giammattei, Guatemala?s president, said his Honduran counterpart Juan Orlando Hern?ndez requested help, but that blocked roads made it impossible to do so.

    Matheu said her organization was helping gather information about the most pressing needs across Honduras. The food supply was a real concern, she said. The country?s road network is badly damaged, airports were closed and much of the Sula valley, the country?s most agriculturally productive, was flooded.

    ?The impact on crops is going to be enormous,? Matheu said. The storm?s impact would only increase the pressure on a desperate population to migrate, she added.

    In Panama, at least eight people were reported missing after flooding and landslides in the province of Chiriqui, which borders Costa Rica.

    The U.S. National Hurricane Center forecast that parts of Nicaragua and Honduras could receive 15 to 25 inches (380 to 635 millimeters) of rain, with 40 inches (1,000 millimeters) possible in some isolated parts.

    When what?s left of the storm wobbles back into the Caribbean it will regain some strength and become a tropical storm again, forecasts show.

    And then Eta is predicted to slowly move toward Cuba and Florida, or at least close enough to Florida for forecasters to warn of 7 inches of rain for South Florida in the next five to seven days. And next week, Eta could even move into the Gulf of Mexico.

    ?Whatever comes out (of Central America) is going to linger awhile,? said Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. ?I?m not convinced we?re done with Eta.?

    That?s because what?s left of Eta still has spin, which is hard to kill off, and that should help it reform, said NOAA hurricane and climate scientist Jim Kossin.

    Once it reforms and heads toward Cuba, it could meander in the area for awhile.

    ?The winds aren?t going to be the problem. The rains are going to be the problem,? Klotzbach said.

    Eta will be so big, wet and messy that it doesn?t have to make landfall in already rain-soaked South Florida to cause a mess, Klotzbach said.

    ?Slow-moving sprawling ugly tropical storms can certainly pack a precipitation wallop even if it doesn?t make landfall,? Klotzbach said.

  2. #2
    Don't drink sanitizer! raisedbywolves's Avatar
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    State of emergency declared as Eta treks toward Florida

    A state of emergency was declared Saturday by Gov. Ron DeSantis for eight southern Florida counties because of a growing threat from Tropical Storm Eta, which also could affect northern parts of the state later in the week.

    DeSantis issued an executive order that declared the state of emergency in Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Martin, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties, as Eta was moving away from the Cayman Islands and toward central Cuba.
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    The governor’s order said the action was being taken “in an abundance of caution,” while the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory that “Eta could be near hurricane strength as it approaches Florida.”

    DeSantis noted in the order that up to 15 inches of rain could occur in parts of southern Florida.

    Meanwhile, Florida Power & Light on Saturday evening said it “estimates a significant number of customers from the Treasure Coast to Miami-Dade County and areas throughout Southwest Florida could experience power outages as severe weather affects Florida’s southern peninsula for several days. In some areas, customers could experience more than one outage as weather bands move through.”

    The utility said it was pre-positioning about 10,000 workers who could help restore power.

    The National Hurricane Center on Saturday issued a hurricane watch for coastal areas from Deerfield Beach to Bonita Beach and the Keys and a storm-surge watch for coastal areas from Golden Beach to Bonita Beach and the Keys. A tropical storm warning also was in effect, including for Lake Okeechobee.

    Eta was packing maximum sustained winds of 60 mph and moving northeast at 16 miles per hour.

    “A turn toward the north and northwest at a slower forward speed is expected on Sunday and Sunday night, followed by a westward motion on Monday,” the Hurricane Center said in an advisory. “On the forecast track, the center of Eta will cross central Cuba tonight, approach South Florida and the Florida Keys on Sunday, and pass near or over South Florida and the Florida Keys Sunday night and Monday.”

    A tornado or two could occur Sunday night in the southern part of the state and the Keys, while potentially life-threatening surf conditions could be encountered during the next couple of days, according to the center’s advisory.

    The cone of probability for the system also indicated that Florida’s west coast and Panhandle could be affected by the storm later in the week.

    DeSantis’ order directed Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz to coordinate the state’s emergency plans and to seek federal assistance as needed. It also directed the activation of the Florida National Guard as needed, suspended laws that could hinder storm planning and recovery efforts and invoked what is known as the Emergency Management Assistance Compact with other states to coordinate additional resources.

    There was no immediate announcement of members of the National Guard being activated or coastal evacuation orders being issued.

    Also, to reduce the potential spread of COVID-19, the order said the state will activate agreements with hotels for non-congregate sheltering.

    “Counties are encouraged to accept evacuees from other jurisdictions into their non-congregate shelters to allow for the state of Florida to practice safe social distancing measures,” the order said.

  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnLanders's Avatar
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    Eta’s moisture combined with a cold front Thursday, which resulted in copious amounts of rain that caused some of the worst flooding in parts of Virginia and North Carolina since 1995.

    A flash flood emergency was issued for parts of North Carolina Thursday, where many rescues were reported.

    Flooding in Alexander County, North Carolina, has left four people dead and two others -- one adult and one child -- missing, officials said. Three died from flooding at the Hiddenite Family Campground, where a search will resume Friday morning for a missing adult and child. Another person died in the county from a car accident Thursday that was caused by a bridge washout.

    Eta is finally gone Friday, but there are still flood warnings in Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina due to rising rivers. Some rivers will not crest until next week.

    In Virginia, the Roanoke River rose to more than 34 feet, making it the highest level since 1995.

    The highest rainfall in the U.S. Thursday was in Campbell County, Virginia, where 10.5 inches fell.

    Elsewhere, in Tampa Bay, up to 10 inches of rain fell. In South Carolina, the highest rainfall total was 7.95 inches, and in Georgia, 5.13 inches.

    In Charlotte, 4.62 inches of rain fell, making it the wettest November day in the city's history.

    In addition, a new tropical wave is developing in the Caribbean Sea, this system could become our next named storm, Iota.
    Thankfully, most models keep this system away from the U.S., but Central America, which was hit very hard with deadly floods from Eta last weekend, is in its path.

    In the West, a major storm system moving in could bring up to 3 feet of snow, wind gusts that could reach 100 mph and heavy rain along coastal northern California, Oregon and Washington.

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