MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A NOAA hurricane hunter aircraft reports that Tropical Storm Eta is a little stronger. As a result, tropical storm warning and storm surge watches have been issued for portions of the west coast of Florida.
Eta is moving toward the north-northeast near 9 mph.
A motion toward the north-northeast is forecast through Thursday.
On the forecast track the center of Eta will move closer to but offshore of the southwest coast of Florida on Wednesday, approach the west-central coast of Florida Wednesday night, and move inland over the northern portion of the Florida peninsula on Thursday.
Data from a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased to near 65 mph with higher gusts.
Some additional strengthening is forecast through Wednesday, and Eta could be near hurricane strength by Wednesday morning.
Gradual weakening is expected to begin Wednesday night or early Thursday.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles from the center.