MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Eta continues to bring heavy rains and strong winds to portions of west-central Florida.

At 10 p.m., Wednesday, Eta is located about 55 miles northwest of St. Petersburg.

Eta is moving toward the north near 12 mph, and this general motion is expected to continue overnight, followed by a turn toward the north-northeast and northeast Thursday morning.

TRACKING TROPICAL STORM ETA

On the forecast track, the center of Eta will move near but just offshore of the west-central coast of Florida during the next few hours, and move inland over the northern portion of the Florida peninsula on Thursday morning.

Eta is expected to move northeastward into the western Atlantic late Thursday and early Friday.

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Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph with higher gusts.

Slow weakening is expected as Eta approaches the west coast of Florida tonight, followed by more rapid weakening after landfall occurs on Thursday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles from the center.

Albert Whitted Airport near St. Petersburg recently reported sustained winds of 40 mph and a gust of 52 mph.

A Weatherflow site in Tampa Bay recently measured sustained winds of 45 mph and a gust of 59 mph.

SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:

A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for:

  • Bonita Beach to Suwanee River Florida, including Tampa Bay and Charlotte Harbor

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Boca Grande to Suwannee River Florida
  • Flagler/Volusia County Florida line northward to St. Andrews Sound Georgia.

A Storm Surge Watch is in effect for:

  • Steinhatchee River to Suwannee River Florida

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for:

  • North of the Suwannee River to Aucilla River Florida

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Theta is out in the Eastern Atlantic and will continue to move East. It is not a threat to the U.S.

A tropical wave located over the eastern Caribbean Sea is producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms. The wave is expected to move slowly westward into more conducive environmental conditions over the next several days, and a tropical depression is likely to form late this week or this weekend when the disturbance reaches the central or western Caribbean Sea.

Regardless of development, this system is expected to bring heavy rainfall along with possible flash flooding to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and portions of Hispaniola over the next day or so. There is a high chance of development over the next 5 days.

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