JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – At 10 p.m. Wednesday, a tropical storm warning was issued from the Flagler/Volusia County line northward to St. Andrews Sound in Georgia. The tropical storm warning includes Jacksonville. As of 10 p.m. the center of Eta was located about 55 miles northwest of St. Petersburg and had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.
Eta was moving toward the north near 12 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue overnight, followed by a turn toward the north-northeast and northeast Thursday morning. On the forecast track, the center of Eta will move closer to but just offshore of the west-central coast of Florida Wednesday night and move inland over the northern portion of the Florida peninsula on Thursday. Eta is expected to move northeastward into the western Atlantic late Thursday and early Friday.
Weakening is expected as Eta moves on shore which will be followed by rapid weakening throughout Today. As it weakens the track will be right over Jacksonville.
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Let me repeat, Eta will make it all the way toward the Jacksonville area, it will likely be just a breezy rainmaker and not for everyone. Only scattered torrential downpours will be expected and rainfall amounts will most likely remain under 2 inches in the wettest location. The wettest locations will be from Gainesville to Jacksonville (southward) with most areas likely to see about an inch or two today.
Bands of rain and lighter winds will work there way through the region with significant rains (light to moderate) will roll across Jacksonville around 1 a.m. then there will be another pause with the worst will likely to begin around 5-8 a.m., the window of the heaviest will be between 8am and 2pm.
Expect only a rumble or two of thunder at the most. These are not storms heading our way, just bands of on-off downpours with gusty winds.
For many, last Sunday/Monday’s mini-nor’easter, with winds gusting to 35 mph and a few downpours, will have had a larger impact.
Eta for Jacksonville will be more disruptive than severe, so where is the trouble?
Tropical storms and tropical depressions are typically poorly organized and, as such, oftentimes, a freak area of torrential rains can explode rather randomly leading to extreme rainfall amounts -- amounts of more than 4-5″ over a rather short period of time, say 6 hours.
As Eta gets closer, we will update this story with what we can specifically expect as Eta approaches.