Tropical depression Eta is expected to strengthen as it moves toward the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and Florida as rescue crews in Guatemala search for about 100 people believed buried in landslides triggered by heavy rains from then-Hurricane Eta.
The National Hurricane Center said early Saturday that Eta is expected to become a tropical storm again later Saturday and continue to strengthen through Sunday.
The NHC has issued tropical storm warnings for the Cayman Islands, Northwestern Bahamas and the Cuban provinces of Camaguey, Ciego de Avila, Sancti Spiritus, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Matanzas.
Tropical storm watches have been issued for the east coast of Florida to the Sebastian Inlet, the Florida Keys and the Cuban provinces of La Habana, Artemisa y Mayabeque, Pinar delRio, and the Isle of Youth.
A tropical storm warning means storm conditions are expected within 36 hours, while a tropical storm watch means the storm conditions could appear within 48 hours.
Eta has ravaged Central America over the past few days with heavy rains that caused flooding and landslides that killed at least 100 people in Guatemala and dozens of others elsewhere in Central America and Mexico.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said Friday that Eta has forced thousands of people to leave their homes and has caused “significant damage” to buildings and homes in Central America, including in Honduras, Guatemala and Panama.
In its latest report, the NHC said Eta was about 305 kilometers west-southwest of Grand Cayman and is moving with maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour.
Eta came ashore Tuesday in Nicaragua as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, bringing high winds, heavy rain, flooding and landslides in higher elevations.
Eta is the 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, tying a record for the busiest storm season.