Tropical Storm Eta lashing South Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida — Tropical Storm Eta was lashing South Florida and the Florida Keys early Monday with gusty winds and heavy rains, the National Hurricane Center said. Many areas were flooded, beaches and coronavirus testing sites were closed, public transportation was shut down and some evacuations were in place.

Eta was hitting Florida after leaving scores dead and over 100 missing in Mexico and Central America.

South Florida was already drenched from more than 14 inches of rain last month.

CBS News weather producer David Parkinson said Monday morning that Eta “has turned it’s firehose of moisture straight at Miami-Dade and Broward (counties) in Florida and has dropped almost a foot of rain in the past day or so and brought about considerable flooding.” He said Eta could bring up to six more inches of rain to the region.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz warned that, “In some areas, the water isn’t pumping out as fast as it’s coming in.”

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he was in frequent contact with county water officials about the struggle to drain the water, which has stalled vehicles, whitewashed some intersections and even crept into some homes.

10PM Fort Lauderdale #TropicalStormEta update. water in our front yard now up to my knees. @weatherchannel @wsvn @WPLGLocal10 @tropicalupdate @NWSMiami @PhilFerro7

The storm also left almost 18,000 homes and businesses without power in Miami-Dade and Broward counties, CBS Miami reports, citing Florida Power & Light.

Eta had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph Monday morning and was moving westward over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, the hurricane center said. It was centered about 80 miles west-northwest of Key West and moving west at 13 mph.

On the forecast track, the center of Eta will gradually pull away from the Florida Keys and south Florida Monday today stay over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico Monday night through Wednesday, the hurricane center said.

But Parkinson explained that one of Eta’s bands “has just set up shop and is not moving.” In addition, he said, “One more round of rain targeting both Miami and Southwest Florida likely Monday night before Eta pulls far enough away from land in the Gulf” for rain to stop in South Florida.

Eta made landfall late Sunday over Lower Matecumbe Key.

CBS Miami said a tractor-trailer truck was left dangling off the side of an expressway due to the rain-slicked roads from Eta.

The Florida Highway Patrol said just before 5 a.m., the driver of the semi lost control. The truck swerved to the right and went off shoulder, where it came to a rest. Only minor injuries were reported.

On Sunday night, authorities in Lauderhill, Florida, responded to a report of a car that had driven into a canal. Photos taken by fire units on the scene about 30 miles north of Miami showed rescuers searching high waters near a parking lot.

#BREAKING #Lauderhill fire units on scene of vehicle that drove into a canal. 4121 NW 21th St. Firefighters pulled one subject from vehicle and searching for others. Patient being txp to @BrowardHealth in critical condition.

Firefighters pulled a man from the car and took him to a hospital in critical condition, according to a statement from Lauderhill Fire. Responders were continuing to search for others.

Assistant Lauderhill Fire Chief Jeff Levy told CBS Miami, “A lot of firefighters were able to get into the vehicle, get the victim out, pull him out, begin CPR and get him transported to Broward General Hospital where he has regained his pulse.”

In Miami, a tree fell onto the roof of a duplex, displacing seven people from two families, CBS Miami reported. No one injured.

In the Keys, officials ordered evacuations for mobile home parks, campgrounds and RV parks and those in low-lying areas. Several schools districts closed, saying roads were already too flooded and the winds could be too gusty for buses to transport students. Several shelters opened in Miami and the Keys.

“Please take this storm seriously,” urged Palm Beach County Emergency Management Director Bill Johnson. “Please don’t drive through flooded roadways.”

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