Several Florida neighborhoods remain underwater as Eta drifts near Cuba

Southeast

A bicyclist rides through high water at a shopping center Monday Nov. 9, 2020 in Hollywood, Fla. Tropical Storm Eta brought heavy rain and high winds to South Florida as it made landfall in the Florida Keys Sunday. (Susan Stocker/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

TAMPA, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Tropical Storm Eta is drifting away from South Florida, but it has left entire neighborhoods flooded and filled some homes with rising water.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm was lingering just north of the Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico Tuesday morning, with top winds of 50 mph.

Despite Eta’s movement away from Florida, the risk of flooding in the state continues into Tuesday, according to the center. Parts of South Florida could expect roughly 20 inches of rain to accumulate, forecasters said.

Residents walk a flooded street to reach their homes, Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)

On Monday, the storm’s outer rainbands extended outward up to 310 miles from its center, soaking much of South Florida, NewsNation affiliate WFLA reported.

It caused flash flooding in cities including Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

Tropical Storm Eta is expected to stall again Tuesday before making a slow northward crawl up the eastern Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night.

Eta is the 28th named storm of a record hurricane season, and it was the first to make landfall in Florida this year.

A 29th named storm, Theta, took shape over the northern Atlantic Monday night. It broke the previous record of 28 named storms in 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma struck the Gulf Coast.

Lemay Acosta pulls his daughter Layla, 2, and dog Buster on a boat as they tour his flooded neighborhood in Plantation, Fla., on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. (Carline Jean/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

People in Florida are familiar with the heavy tropical rain, but Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis called this a 100-year rain event.

“Once the ground becomes saturated, there’s really no place for the water to go,” Trantalis said.

Davie resident Troy Rodriguez said, “Now I have fish in my hard and everything, it’s rough.”

The rain also damaged one of Florida’s largest COVID-19 testing sites at Miami-Dade County’s Hard Rock Stadium, officials said.

Throughout the pandemic, it has been one of the busiest places for people to get a coronavirus diagnosis. The site was expected to be closed until Wednesday or Thursday. At least seven other state testing sites were to remain closed on Tuesday.

“It’s very bad. In the last 20 years, I’ve never seen anything like that,” said Tito Carvalho, who owns a car stereo business in Fort Lauderdale and estimated the water was 3 feet deep in some places. 

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said on Twitter that Floridians should monitor the storm over the coming days. While this storm has moved offshore, it could still bring dangerous conditions to the Gulf Coast at the end of this week,” he tweeted.

As of Tuesday, there were no reported deaths in Florida.

In Central America and Mexico, the death toll is rising.

Nearly a week after Eta crashed ashore in Nicaragua, authorities from Panama to Guatemala have reported more than 100 dead and an even higher number of missing. Extensive flooding and landslides have affected hundreds of thousands of people in countries already struggling with the economic fallout of the pandemic.

The Associated Press and NewsNation affiliate WFLA contributed to this report.

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