MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tropical Storm Eta is expected to become a hurricane overnight, likely bringing life-threatening storm surge, damaging winds and flash flooding to portions of Central America.

At 4 p.m. Sunday, the storm was 305 miles east-northeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.

Eta is moving toward the west near 15 mph, and this motion with some decrease in forward speed is expected tonight.

A slower motion toward the west-southwest is forecast on Monday and Tuesday.

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On the forecast track, the center of Eta is expected to approach the northeastern coast of Nicaragua on Monday, and make landfall within the Hurricane Warning area in Nicaragua Monday night or early Tuesday.

Eta is forecast to move inland over northern Nicaragua through early Wednesday.

Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph with higher gusts.

Rapid strengthening is forecast during the next 24 to 36 hours, and Eta is expected to become a hurricane tonight, with additional strengthening likely until the hurricane makes landfall Monday night or early Tuesday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles from the center.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:

  • The coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras/Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • The northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Nicaragua border

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • The northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Nicaragua border

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • The northern coast of Honduras from west of Punta Patuca westward to Punta Castilla
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