A flock divided: As some snowbirds brace for their first Canadian winter in years, others are sitting poolside in Florida


Normally at this time of year, Jeff Read and his wife, Dollie, would be at their vacation home in a gated community on Florida’s Atlantic coast.

The snowbirds from Cornwall, Ont., typically spend their days at the pool or the beach. Read enjoys riding his Harley with a motorcycle club.

“It’s easy living,” says the 68-year-old retiree.

But when the Star caught up with Read this week, he was still in Ontario, staring out at a snow-covered driveway and seemingly resigned to the fact that the couple would be staying put this winter.

It is, after all, the year of COVID-19.

In the same way Canadians coast to coast are having to wrestle with whether to book flights to see loved ones in other parts of the country this holiday season, snowbirds who escape to warmer destinations every winter are having to make tough choices: Do they visit the winter homes they’ve poured their retirement savings into or stay put and brave a Canadian winter?

The Canadian Snowbird Association estimates that 70 per cent of its 110,000 members will hunker down. The federal government has urged Canadians to avoid non-essential travel.

Read cited the ongoing closure of the land border as a big factor in their decision. He and Dollie usually like to drive down with their two dogs. Plus, he was worried about the pandemic.

According to U.S. media reports, the number of coronavirus cases per week in the state has tripled since Gov. Ron DeSantis reopened Florida in late September, lifting all restrictions on restaurants and other businesses and banning local fines against people who refuse to wear masks.

Florida now has the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the U.S. after Texas and California.

“There’s a lot of people that don’t like to be told what to do mask-wise,” Read said. “I don’t really feel like getting sick because somebody doesn’t want to wear a mask down there.”

So, he’d just purchased a whole assortment of winter essentials: a snowblower, snowbrush, boots, crampons, gloves and antifreeze windshield-washer.

Scroll through recent posts on a snowbirds Facebook group and it doesn’t take long to see the contrast in choices. While some members have been posting pictures of themselves on sun-drenched beaches and patios — “I am sitting in my lanai in Florida drinking my favourite wine for $10 at 10 p.m. in my shorts,” one snowbird posted recently — others have shared pictures of their snow-covered yards.

“I just bought a snow shovel … after 12 years,” Jarmila Pitterman, 76, of Kitchener, Ont., wrote, followed by two sad-faced, teary-eyed emojis.

Bob Slack also counts himself among those getting re-acquainted with snow gear.

Slack, past president of the Canadian Snowbird Association, and his wife normally spend their winters in Winter Haven, Fla., where they own a property on a golf course.

This will be their first winter in Canada in 23 years.

Slack, 78, of Athens, Ont., said he recently got snow tires and boots. His wife bought a new winter coat.

“We went to Canadian Tire today and bought a new shovel,” he said.

Like Read, Slack cited the land border closure and pandemic as key reasons for their decision.

“We get a report everyday from Florida with the number of cases in the state and in our county. Not looking great at all. If you get sick and the hospitals are full, what do you do?” he said.

While they’ll miss Euchre nights and Friday night fish fries at the clubhouse, Slack said he has regained an appreciation of the beauty of freshly fallen snow.

“The big thing we’re worried about is getting used to the driving again. When you haven’t driven on snow and ice in many years, you’re timid to go out.”

That’s exactly the reason Bruce Murray believes he and his wife, Heather Dodge, made the right call to flee Halifax for Largo, Fla., earlier this month.

“If you’re down here enjoying the sunshine, it’s healthier for you than shovelling snow or driving in winter … or depression or loneliness,” he said.

Murray, 57, said he and his wife never had any doubts about going south for the winter.

Before booking their flights, the couple, who purchased a mobile home in Largo last year, contacted friends in the area whom they trust and were satisfied it was safe to come down.

“We decided that we’d be healthier and just as well here as we would be in Nova Scotia,” he said, noting that, in recent days, COVID-19 numbers have climbed in the Atlantic region, as they have in other parts of Canada. (On Wednesday, Pinellas County, where Largo is located, topped 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 for the second consecutive day. By comparison, Nova Scotia reported 16 new cases.)

Murray said they mostly cook at home but will occasionally do takeout from restaurants. Anytime they’ve ventured into a public space, such as Home Depot, people are masked, he said. Even people attending outdoor yard sales are masked, for the most part.

There is little congestion at the beaches or parks where they like to roller blade, bike and bird watch, he said. And when he had to go to the DMV to pick up licence plates for the used car he had purchased, it was by appointment only and the place was virtually empty.

Murray said the riskiest activity he and his wife engage in is probably pickleball, but they are careful about not touching their faces after handling the balls.

“We haven’t seen anything that’s scared us yet,” he said.

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“Every morning we get up, the sun is shining, the birds are singing. If you don’t watch the news, we wouldn’t know COVID existed here, except for the masks.”

Brian Hoffman and his wife, Lesley, of Lake Temagami, Ont., say they have no regrets after travelling to their vacation home in Punta Gorda, Fla.

Brian Hoffman, 50 and newly retired, said he and his wife, Lesley, similarly have no regrets after coming down to their vacation home in Punta Gorda about a week ago.

“Cheap gas, cheap alcohol. Lots of sun,” he said.

The couple, of Lake Temagami, Ont., started coming to Florida four or five years ago. At first, they weren’t sure whether they’d make it down this year, but when they heard there was a creative way to get themselves — and their car — across the border, they jumped.

They hired a company to ship their car across the border to Detroit and then hopped on a short charter flight from London, Ont., to Detroit where they reunited with their car.

During their runs to Costco or Wal-Mart for supplies, most people are masked and there’s plenty of social distancing, he said. Even though the state is pretty much “wide open,” most restaurants in their area seem have chosen to limit seating or do takeout only.

For the most part, they stick to their home.

“Usually we keep the pool at 85 and we’re floating and watching birds.”

Asked what advice he has for those sitting on the fence, Hoffman noted there are some parts of Florida, such as Miami-Dade County, that have far higher rates of infection than others. (On Wednesday, Miami-Dade County reported 2,120 new confirmed cases of COVID-19).

That said, “If they’re healthy and able to get insurance and able to come down responsibly and isolate appropriately and take the same precautions as they are taking at home, we haven’t seen a big difference. I would invite them to come down,” he said.

“You should live your life, as long as you’re responsible doing it.”

If snowbirds do decide to travel, they need to protect themselves, said Evan Rachkovsky, the snowbird association spokesperson.

“This includes purchasing sufficient travel medical insurance, with COVID-19 coverage, prior to their departure,” he said.

“There are several insurance providers placing $200,000 caps on COVID-19-related claims. This level of coverage, particularly when travelling to the United States, is inadequate. Snowbirds who choose to travel also need to follow quarantine requirements as well as health and safety protocols at the federal, state and local levels.”

Late Wednesday, Read notified the Star that he and his wife had had a change of heart.

They decided to book a flight for Florida for next month, after all.

The “cold” and “dampness” from spending part of the day shovelling and snowblowing may have been a contributing factor, he said.

The trip won’t be entirely for pleasure. They plan to put their home in Port St. Lucie up for sale. While they would like to have gotten another five years out of it, it was “costing me a small bundle to keep that place empty,” he said.

Read said he and his wife are now thinking of spending future winters down in Mexico, Cuba or Jamaica.

Asked about the worsening COVID-19 situation in Florida, Read said they have every intention of following the same precautions they’ve been following in Canada down in Florida.

“Grab the groceries and get out.”

With files from The Associated Press

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Have your plans for the winter changed because of COVID? What do you think about snowbirds who are still flying south?

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Miami takes a right turn: Republicans dominate Florida House wins


In a twist of events, Miami Republicans flipped seats in two South Florida congressional districts, an outcome neither party was expecting. Observers across the country wonder if this election could mean lasting changes in Florida — and for a Republican Party reinforced by Hispanic voters. 

Former Spanish-language journalist Maria Elvira Salazar will represent Florida’s 27th congressional district after slightly outperforming Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala. Former Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is also a Republican, will represent Florida’s 26th district after defeating Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell.

“I’m a girl from the hood. So the hood voted for me,” Salazar said.

Salazar says there is one key factor that prompted Miami to give Democrats the boot this year.

Former spanish-language journalist Maria Salazar will represent Florida’s 27th congressional district after slightly outdoing Rep. Donna Shalala. 

“Just one word,” Salazar said. “‘Socialism.’ You cannot be playing around with that word, you cannot be fooling around with socialism because that reminds my mom and my neighbor and the people that live on the other side of the street, of the inferno.”

Gimenez agrees, adding that Trump played an undeniable role in helping Republicans succeed in Florida. 

Miami-Dade counties former mayor Carlos Gimenez will represent Florida's 26th district after defeating Debbie Powell.

Miami-Dade counties former mayor Carlos Gimenez will represent Florida’s 26th district after defeating Debbie Powell.

“I think that President Trump’s message actually resonated, especially in congressional districts 26 and 27 where you saw myself and my Maria Elvira defeat two incumbents and Democrat incumbents. I think that it was a rejection of what they were selling. They were selling extremism. There was something, frankly, you know, socialistic kind of policies that actually did not resonate well here in Miami-Dade County at all, especially with the Hispanic community,” Gimenez said. 

Trump made significant gains in Miami-Dade this election, where Biden won by about 85,000 votes. Hillary Clinton took the county in 2016 by more than 290,000 votes. 

Brian Fonseca, a political professor at Florida International University, said if Democrats want to be competitive in Florida in 2022 and 2024, they need a Biden-Harris ticket that doesn’t appear to push progressive, left-wing policies.

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“At a statewide level, there’s certainly an argument that perhaps the state is no longer a swing state, maybe it’s increasingly becoming red … I don’t think President Trump would have won the state by the margin he did if it weren’t for the massive rallies and the Trumptillas and the Trump trains that really worked hard to mobilize and move those voters to the polls,” Fonseca said. “One of the things that hurt the Biden campaign in Florida was the narrative around socialism and leaning too far to the progressive left. If that message is supported and sustained in a divided administration, that may be very difficult to pick up Florida in future elections.”

“If we look closely enough as to what happened here, we can see that we can come out a much stronger party,” Gimenez added.

Republicans have a net gain of six seats so far including two in Miami, which usually votes Democratic. Right now, there are 15 seats still up for grabs.



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Tropical Storm Eta soaks South Florida after landfall at the Keys




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Tropical Storm Eta: Florida braces for impact after dozens die in Central America | World News


Dozens of people have been killed in central America and at least 100 are missing after Tropical Storm Eta caused landslides and rivers burst their banks.

Authorities in Guatemala raised the death toll there to 27 from 15 and said more than 100 people were missing, many of them in a landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz.

Image:
A community road leading to Puerto Cortes in Honduras is seen after it was flooded

Local officials in Honduras reported 21 dead, though the national disaster agency has confirmed only eight.

Eta initially hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, and authorities from Panama to Mexico are still surveying the damage following days of torrential rain during the week.

In Guatemala, search teams first had to overcome multiple landslides and deep mud just to reach the site, where officials have estimated some 150 homes were devastated.

In southern Mexico, across the border from Guatemala, 20 people died as heavy rains caused mudslides and swelled streams and rivers, according to Chiapas state civil defence official Elías Morales Rodríguez.

On Saturday the storm swelled rivers and flooded coastal zones in Cuba, where 25,000 had been evacuated. But there were no reports of deaths.

Eta made landfall in Florida early on Monday, bringing heavy rains to already flooded city streets.

Beaches and coronavirus testing sites were closed and public transportation was shut down.

A woman crosses the street during a heavy rain and wind in Miami
Image:
A woman crosses the street during a heavy rain and wind in Miami

The system’s slow speed and heavy rains pose a large threat to an area which was already drenched by more than 350mm (14in) of rain last month.

Forecasters said Eta could dump an additional 150-300mm (6-12in) of rain.

Schools in several districts have been closed, with authorities saying the roads were already too flooded and the winds could be too strong for buses to transport students. Shelters also opened in Miami and the Florida Keys.

“Please take this storm seriously,” urged Palm Beach County emergency management director Bill Johnson.

“Please don’t drive through flooded roadways.”

In the Florida Keys, the mayor ordered mandatory evacuations for mobile home parks, campgrounds and RV parks and those in low-lying areas.

On the forecast track, Eta is expected to move out into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and intensify into a hurricane late Monday or Tuesday.



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Eta strikes Florida Keys; expected to become hurricane


HAVANA (AP) — A strengthening Tropical Storm Eta made landfall on Florida’s Lower Matecumbe Key on Sunday night, days after leaving scores of dead and over 100 missing in Mexico and Central America.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami declared hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay.

Florida officials closed beaches, ports and COVID testing sites, shut down public transportation and urged residents to stay off the street. Several shelters also opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low lying areas. Broward County also shut down in-person schooling Monday and Miami seemed poised to do the same.

On Sunday night, authorities in Lauderhill, Florida, responded to a report of a car that had driven into a canal. Photos taken by fire units on the scene about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Miami showed rescuers searching what appeared to be flooded waters near a parking lot.

Firefighters pulled one person from a car and took the patient to a hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from Lauderhill Fire’s public information officer. Responders were continuing to search for others.

Eta had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) on Sunday night and was centered about 30 miles (45 kilometers) east-northeast of Marathon, Florida, and 70 miles (115 kilometers) east-northeast of Key West. It was moving west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

The storm swelled rivers and flooded coastal zones in Cuba, where 25,000 had been evacuated. But there were no reports of deaths.

Eta earlier hit Cuba even as searchers in Guatemala were still digging for people believed buried by a massive, rain-fueled landslide. Authorities on Sunday raised the known death toll there to 27 from 15 and said more than 100 were missing in Guatemala, many of them in the landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz.

Some 60,000 people had been evacuated in Guatemala.

At least 20 people also were reported dead in southern Mexico and local officials in Honduras reported 21, though the national disaster agency had confirmed only eight.

Pope Francis on Sunday spoke about the population of Central America, hit “by a violent hurricane, which has caused many victims and huge damage, worsened as well by the already difficult situation due to the pandemic.” Speaking to faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Francis prayed that “the Lord welcome the deceased, comfort their families and sustain all those so tried, as well as all those who are doing their best to help them.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday for eight counties at the end of the state as Eta approached, urging residents to stock up on supplies. South Florida started emptying ports and a small number of shelters opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low-lying areas.

Miami-Dade County declared a state of emergency Friday night and also warned a flood watch would be in effect through Tuesday night.

Further south in the Keys, officials were monitoring the storm closely, but had no plans yet to evacuate tourists or residents. They urged residents to secure their boats and encouraged visitors to consider altering plans until Eta had passed.

Eta initially hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, and authorities from Panama to Mexico were still surveying the damages following days of torrential rains during the week.

In Guatemala, search teams first had to overcome multiple landslides and deep mud just to reach the site where officials have estimated some 150 homes were devastated.

In the worst-hit village, Quejá, at least five bodies have been pulled from the mud. The Indigenous community of about 1,200 residents consisted of simple homes of wood and tin roofs clinging to the mountainside.

Rescue workers used a helicopter to evacuate survivor Emilio Caal, who said he lost as many as 40 family members and relatives. Caal, 65, suffered a dislocated shoulder when the landslide sent rocks, trees and earth hurtling onto the home where he was about to sit down to lunch with his wife and grandchildren. Caal said he was blown several yards (meters) by the force of the slide, and that none of the others were able to get out.

“My wife is dead, my grandchildren are dead,” said Caal from a nearby hospital.

Firefighters’ spokesman Ruben Tellez said at least one additional person died in Guatemala on Sunday when a small plane went down while carrying emergency supplies to the stricken area.

In neighboring Honduras, 68-year-old María Elena Mejía Guadron died when the brown waters of the Chamelecon river poured into San Pedro Sula’s Planeta neighborhood before dawn Thursday.

In southern Mexico, across the border from Guatemala, 20 people died as heavy rains attributed to Eta caused mudslides and swelled streams and rivers, according to Chiapas state civil defense official Elías Morales Rodríguez.

The worst incident in Mexico occurred in the mountain township of Chenalho, where 10 people were swept away by a rain-swollen stream; their bodies were later found downstream.

Flooding in the neighboring state of Tabasco was so bad that President Andrés Manuel López Obrador cut short a trip to western Mexico and was flying to Tabasco, his home state, to oversee relief efforts.

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Associated Press writers Kelli Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Marlon González in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Frances D’Emilio in Rome, Italy, contributed to this report.





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Tropical Storm Eta Makes Landfall in the Florida Keys After Strengthening


Tropical Storm Eta, the 28th named storm of this year’s busy hurricane season, made landfall on the central part of the Florida Keys late Sunday night, bringing strong winds and heavy rains to the region, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm had maximum wind speeds of about 65 miles per hour as it struck Lower Matecumbe Key around 11 p.m. on Sunday, according to Doppler radar data, the center said.

The storm devastated portions of Central America, where it started on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane, leaving more than 50 dead in its wake before weakening to a tropical depression. It passed over the Cayman Islands and the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday and made landfall on the south-central coast of Cuba early Sunday morning.

It was about 70 miles east of Key West late Sunday night, according to an advisory from the center. The storm was moving northwest at 14 m.p.h.

The Florida Keys and South Florida were experiencing heavy rains and dangerous flooding. A life-threatening storm surge could occur in those areas as well as tornadoes, which were expected Sunday evening through Monday.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the Florida coast from Golden Beach to Bonita Beach. A hurricane warning was also issued for the Florida Keys, from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for South Florida, from the Brevard and Volusia County line to Englewood, including Florida Bay and Lake Okeechobee.

On Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency for eight Florida counties, including Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. All Covid-19 testing sites in Miami-Dade County have closed in preparation for the storm until further notice.

Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesman at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said the storm had expanded since striking Central America. Its zigzag path, steered by high and low pressure systems, is not uncommon for storms that form later in the season, he said.

Forecasters predicted six to 12 inches of rain, with isolated instances of 18 inches possible, in parts of South and Central Florida. Tropical-storm-force winds were expected to arrive in Florida by Sunday night.

“We had some pretty heavy rain on the grounds here in October, so the ground is already pretty saturated,” Mr. Feltgen said. “We’re looking at the potential for a lot of urban flooding around here.”

“We always say there’s no such thing as just a tropical storm,” Mr. Feltgen said. “You can get some very serious impacts from a tropical storm. This is a very big, very serious rainfall event.”

The storm made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, bringing devastation to portions of Central America with winds of up to 140 m.p.h. and heavy rainfall that reached 35 inches in some areas.

Flooding and mudslides contributed to at least 57 deaths in Guatemala, the country’s president, Alejandro Giammattei, said at a news conference on Thursday. One mudslide buried 25 houses and trapped dozens of people inside, The Associated Press reported.

Two miners were killed in mudslides in Nicaragua, The A.P. reported. In Honduras, a 12-year-old girl was killed when she became trapped in a mudslide.

The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression as it traveled over mountainous terrain, Mr. Feltgen said, but by Saturday it had strengthened again into a tropical storm.

With this storm, the unusually busy 2020 season tied a record set in 2005 for the most storms. That year, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma battered the Gulf Coast, and so many storms grew strong enough to be named that meteorologists resorted to the Greek alphabet after exhausting the list of rotating names maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

The agency never got to Eta that year, however, because the 28th storm was not identified until the season was over; it remained nameless. That last storm in 2005 was a subtropical storm that formed briefly in October near the Azores, a remote archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

This season, the 28th storm followed Hurricane Zeta, which landed on Oct. 28 in Louisiana as a Category 2 hurricane, killing at least six people and causing widespread power outages in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Carolinas.

Azi Paybarah contributed reporting.





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Tropical Storm Eta making landfall in Cuba, heads toward southern Florida


The storm is expected to drench the Florida Keys.

Tropical Storm Eta made landfall early Sunday morning along the south central coast of Cuba with winds of 65 mph.

The storm is about 235 miles south-southeast of Miami and moving north at 14 mph.

The center of Eta will pass near the Florida Keys Sunday night and be just West of the Keys by Monday morning.

Rainfall continues to be the greatest risk with Eta, with locally over 2 feet of rain possible in parts of Cuba.

Up to 14 inches of rain will be possible in the Bahamas and parts of Florida could see 12-18 inches of rain. In some cases, this will be enough to cause life threatening flash flooding.

October in general tends to be a very wet month for southern Florida.

An additional concern will be the storm surge. Storm surges locally of up to 4 feet will be possible in parts of southern Florida in the storm surge-prone areas.

Additionally, there could possibly be tornadoes in Southern Florida as Eta moves through the region over the next 48 hours.

Once Eta makes it into the Gulf of Mexico, Eta will begin to slow down and its direction then becomes unclear.

Forecast models this morning actually have Eta stalling in the Gulf of Mexico through much of the upcoming week.

While the exact location and direction of Eta and its eventual stall remain unclear, there is potential that cold fronts moving across parts of the eastern U.S. could draw tropical moisture from Eta and create a potential for flash flooding in some spots along the East Coast later this week.

In the West, a storm system is beginning to move across part of the country, bringing snow, rain and some gusty winds.

Some of the most organized areas of snow this morning are in parts of Montana and the Rocky Mountains where locally up to 3 feet is expected through Tuesday.

This storm system and its associated dip in the jet stream is expected to bring wind gusts locally over 50 mph from parts of California all the way Wisconsin as wind gusts could be exacerbated in the higher terrains of the intermountain west.

Elsewhere, Los Angeles received 0.11 inches of rain on Saturday, ending a 172-day streak of no rain which is its 7th longest streak in history.

Las Vegas did not receive measurable rain and has smashed their record for longest dry streak already with 202 days since their last rainfall though the region might have an opportunity to pick up rainfall today.



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Eta to strengthen back into tropical storm Saturday, will approach Florida Sunday


Rainfall totals in southern Florida could exceed a foot of rain.

Eta remains a tropical depression Saturday morning but is forecasted to strengthen over the coming days. The system is 250 miles west-southwest of Grand Cayman and has winds of 35 mph.

Tropical storm watches have been extended northward into southern Florida, including the Florida Keys. The current forecast track expects Eta to approach the Cayman Islands Saturday, likely becoming a tropical storm once again.

Eta will then move over Cuba Saturday night and Sunday, and then be near southern Florida by Sunday night and Monday.

There are already some outer bands of Eta moving into southern Florida Saturday morning. Some of these bands could contain gusty winds and heavy rain. Additionally, isolated waterspouts and tornadoes will be possible in some of these outer bands.

Rainfall continues to be the main threat from Eta. Parts of Central America could see another 2 to 5 inches of rain before Eta moves far enough away from the region. This could bring isolated storm totals of 40 inches in parts of Honduras and Nicaragua.

Rain totals in Jamaica and the Cayman Islands could approach 15-25 inches, with most of that rainfall having already fallen. Locally, up to 2 feet of rain could fall in Cuba as well. This amount of rainfall will continue to bring the risk for life-threatening flash flooding, as well as mudslides and landslides.

Rainfall totals in Florida could exceed a foot of rain, especially in extreme southern Florida. It’s important to note that southern Florida is capable of absorbing a good amount of rainfall. However, October was a very wet month for the area. That, combined with the likelihood of intense precipitation, could lead to flash flooding, especially in the more urban areas in the Miami metropolitan area.

A storm surge of 2 to 3 feet will be possible in parts of southern Florida as well.

The forecast track brings Eta into the Gulf by Tuesday and Wednesday, where it likely will be able to remain its tropical storm status. It is unclear exactly where Eta will go at that point. However, it is likely to remain a tropical threat to parts of the Gulf, especially Florida, through the middle of the week.



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