Tropical Storm Eta has slammed into the Florida Keys, where it unleashed a life-threatening storm surge and flooding – and is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it moves into Florida Bay, according to reports.
The storm made landfall in Lower Metacum Key at 11 p.m. Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center, which said the “strong tropical storm” was blowing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.
Eta was bringing “strong winds, heavy rains and dangerous storm surge” over portions of southern Florida and the Keys, the NHC said in its latest advisory.
A tropical storm is considered a hurricane when it hits wind speeds of 74 mph.
Eta is expected to strengthen into a hurricane by early Tuesday as it moves into Florida Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, according to CNN.
More than 23 million people in south Florida are under hurricane or tropical storm advisories, with 21 counties under a state of emergency, as some 30,000 customers are without power, the network reported.
The storm ripped through Cuba on Sunday after cutting a deadly path through Central America and southern Mexico earlier.
At least 200 people are dead or missing the storm swept through Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras, causing flooding and landslides.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in the southern counties Saturday in advance of the storm.
With Post wires
South Florida braces for Tropical Storm Eta after Keys landfall The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ New York Post.