Tropical Storm Eta ties record; expected to become hurricane

Eta formed in the Caribbean Saturday night.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Forecasters expect the newly-formed Tropical Storm Eta to become a hurricane by Monday, shortly after the system formed in the Caribbean and tied the record for more named storms in a single Atlantic hurricane season.

The system had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph early Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. It was centered 205 miles south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, and 500 miles (805 kilometers) east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border.

Forecasters expect Eta to become a hurricane by Monday. The system is forecast to be near the northeastern coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras by Tuesday morning. A hurricane watch was issued for parts of both countries. Eta was moving west at about 15 mph.

Rainfall totals could reach 15 inches in parts of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and the southern coast of Hispaniola by Thursday evening. Local amounts of up to 30 inches could fall in portions of Honduras and Nicaragua, forecasters said.

Eta is the 28th named Atlantic storm this season, tying the 2005 record for named storms. However, this is the first time the Greek letter Eta is being used as a storm name because in 2005, after the season ended meteorologists went back and determined there was a storm that should have gotten a name, but didn’t.

Hurricane season still has a month to go, ending Nov. 30. And in 2005, Zeta formed in the end of December.