As Tropical Storm Eta’s center made landfall in the Florida Keys late Sunday night, most of its worst impacts were being felt far to the north with far-reaching rain bands flooding streets and leaving tens of thousands without power. Eta marks the 28th named storm this hurricane season, which officially ends on Nov. 30.
The worst of it appeared to be in Broward County, where the National Weather Service issued a flash flood warning and a driver was hospitalized in critical condition after driving their vehicle into a flooded canal in Lauderhill. One Hollywood rain gauge caught more than 10 inches of rain and there were hours of storms still ahead.
Rescue crews made dozens of rescues of people stranded in their cars, and at least seven people were suddenly homeless after a tree fell on their duplex in Miami, according to reports.Eta, which was located 140 miles west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas and moving further into the Gulf, was expected to slow down and strengthen Monday night into Tuesday, a National Hurricane Center advisory said.
Eta made landfall on Lower Matecumbe Key, part of an archipelago off Florida’ southern tip, just before midnight on Sunday as a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour (around 100 km/h). Earlier on Sunday, it battered central Cuba with torrential rain, bursting the banks of rivers and triggering flash flooding in some towns.
The National Weather Service also warned of an increased risk of isolated tornadoes throughout most of South Florida, “with an emphasis on Miami-Dade County.” Miami-Dade was also under a flash flood warning on Monday morning. Major roadways, including Biscayne Boulevard in downtown Miami and the MacArthur Causeway to Miami Beach, were inundated as of Monday morning. Storm totals reached 18 inches of rain in some areas of South Florida, and wind gusts hit 63 miles per hour in the Florida Keys, according to the National Hurricane Center. Schools, universities and many businesses in South Florida announced they would be closed on Monday.