Monroe County Emergency Management will continue to monitor Tropical Depression Eta in conjunction with National Weather Service Key West (NWSKW). The track and intensity of Eta continues to be highly uncertain on what looks like will be a large and disheveled system when it reaches the Florida Keys. Tropical storm force sustained winds may begin in the Florida Keys as early as Sunday morning, but are more likely to begin Sunday night.
The National Weather Service’s Jon Rizzo said the system will affect the entire Florida Keys with a large wind field and potential winds of 60 to 65 mph. “Now is the time to prepare for strong sustained tropical storm wind conditions,” he said.
The structure of the system does not look like it will lead to rapid intensification, Rizzo said, but a category 1 hurricane is not off the table, but highly unlikely. With Eta’s current track, he stressed that a variety of threats like isolated tornadoes, damaging winds, and flooding rains that can uproot trees due to saturated ground can be expected. He also said coastal flooding with tides one to two feet higher than what the Florida Keys are experiencing right now can occur. The NWSKW will release storm surge modeling about 24-48 hours before expected impacts, with the oceanside areas of the Florida Keys being more affected in addition to some bayside areas that typically experience these conditions.
Monroe County Emergency Management Director Shannon Weiner said she does not see a need with the current forecast for a visitor evacuation and will be evaluating the need for local general population sheltering for those who liveaboard boats, mobile homes, or are homeless.
Additional information regarding Eta will be released tomorrow.