There’s a tropical system brewing in the Caribbean Sea that is following the same path that Eta did before it thrashed Central America and deluged Tampa Bay.
The new system known as Invest 98L is an area of low pressure south of Haiti that is moving west through the Caribbean and is headed right at Central America — just as Eta once did.
But the models show that this storm is unlikely to repeat that same spiraling course that saw Eta thrash Central America and then hit Florida — twice.
“This will not impact us at all,” said Spectrum Bay News 9 meteorologist Diane Kacmarik. “It’s just a completely different atmosphere out there, but there’s nothing that will steer it toward the north.”
The Tampa Bay region can look forward to some cooler weather while it dries out from Eta. The next few days will see partly cloudy skies, light winds and a slim chance of showers. The highs through the weekend will be in the low to mid 80s while lows should be in the 70s.
A cold front will move in early Monday and bring cooler weather next week. Daytime temperatures will drop into the 70s and nighttime temperatures will be down into the 60s.
The only other system in the Atlantic is Tropical Storm Theta, which is moving east at nearly 12 mph in the northeast Atlantic, according to the Thursday forecast from the National Hurricane Center. It’s expected to devolve off the European coast this weekend. That means there are currently no tropical systems that could threaten Florida.
Theta is the 29th named storm of the season, breaking the record of 28 set in 2005. Storms have developed and intensified at a rapid pace during this hurricane season, and meteorologists don’t expect this season to end on time on Nov. 30. Storms could continue forming through the end of the year.
The system in the Caribbean has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next day or two. If it does strengthen into the 30th named Atlantic storm, it will be known as Iota.
It is also the last thing that Central America needs after losing up to 153 people to Eta-fueled flooding and damage. Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico all suffered double-digit casualties.
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2020 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
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