By Yanet Diaz
HAVANA TIMES – Tropical depression Eta entered the Caribbean Sea and is heading northeast, threatening the central and western regions of Cuba. The storm already caused numerous deaths and destruction in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Panama.
At five in the afternoon Cuba time (ET) Eta was located 115 miles (180 kms) east of Belize City and 375 miles (600 kms) west-southwest of Grand Cayman. Its minimum central pressure is 1002 millibars with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h), with higher gusts.
Over the next few hours, Eta will intensify and increase in organization regaining tropical storm strength. It’s moving north-northeast over the warm waters of the north-western Caribbean Sea at a speed of 7 mph (11 km/h). The most recent forecast has Eta approaching the south central or western coast of Cuba on Saturday night or early Sunday.
What can Cuba expect
Winds associated with Eta are expected to cover a large area in the coming days. Thus, within 24 hours, tropical storm winds (less than 110 km/h) may reach some portions of the central and western region of the island.
Expect intense rains towards the weekend and the beginning of next week. They bring the possibility of floods and river overflows. The combination of tropical storm winds and heavy rains could also produce coastal flooding in southern parts of the country.
In the satellite image above, you can see that although Eta is quite disorganized and without having a defined center, its bands of clouds and rain cover a large area. The areas in red and black represent where the rains and the strongest winds are occurring. The green and blue areas have more isolated clouds and rains, where intense wind gusts can also occasionally occur.
Therefore, within 24 hours the effects of Eta will begin to be perceived in the central and western regions of Cuba.