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Eta is finished and the Caribbean system is likely to stay south – the end of the hurricane season appears to be in sight

Nov. 13 satellite image of the tropics.
Nov. 13 satellite image of the tropics. (CIRA/RAMMB)

What’s left of Eta is mixed up with a front and is no longer considered tropical. The remnants of the storm are moving out to sea off the Southeast coast of the U.S. It is forecast to be absorbed into a front and dissipate over the next couple days.

After lingering for a last shot this morning, the cursed moisture tail, which has bedeviled South Florida causing days of waterlogged grief, will slowly move offshore today, pushed south and east by a weak front and drier air.

It will linger nearby, however, continuing to affect parts of the Bahamas, and leave enough moisture in the air in South Florida that a few showers are still possible tomorrow. Finally, a real cold front should come along about Tuesday to sweep all signs of Eta and tropical air away to the south.

Around Tampa Bay, people are still cleaning up from the storm surge 3 to 4 feet above normal high tide that flooded low-lying areas near the Gulf and inland rivers and bays late Wednesday. Then yesterday, Eta combined with a front to produce deadly flooding in North Carolina. Their weather has dramatically improved today as well.

Post-Tropical Cyclone Eta: 4 a.m. Friday advisory.
Post-Tropical Cyclone Eta: 4 a.m. Friday advisory. (www.HurricaneIntel.com)

In the central Caribbean Sea, Tropical Depression Thirty-one has formed. It finally achieved the organization it needed to be upgraded. The atmospheric environment is very supportive of storm development, so it’s likely that the depression will turn into Tropical Storm Iota in fairly short order. That’s “iota” with an “i.”

The consensus of the computer forecast models is that the steering currents will push Iota, possibly at hurricane strength, toward Central America. Recall that Hurricane Eta drenched Nicaragua, Honduras and surrounding countries last week, causing significant loss of life and property. There is no guarantee that Iota will hit exactly the same place, but tropical systems and mountains are a dangerous mix.

On the current schedule, Iota would impact land early next week.

There is no indication that Iota will turn north like Eta did, coming from the same part of Central America. It appears that the northern jet stream, which dips south during the winter season, will regularly push cool dry air south confining the region that tropical systems could develop to the extreme southern Caribbean for the foreseeable future.

On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, lonely Tropical Storm Theta is chugging along toward Portugal. It’s not forecast to reach land, however. Theta should turn north and die out before it gets there.

We can never rule out something weird happening, of course. Sometimes a pocket of conducive atmosphere randomly develops that will allow a tropical system to spin up. And it is 2020 after all. But there are indications of a significant change over the Atlantic coming after likely-Iota, which would top the hurricane season off at a round 30 named storms.


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