Tropical Storm Eta expected to intensify into the season’s 12th hurricane on Monday – USA TODAY

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Susan Miller
 
| USA TODAY

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The unremitting Atlantic hurricane season, which refuses to go quietly into the November night, is about to log another benchmark.

Forecasters expect Tropical Storm Eta, which swirled to life over the weekend in the Caribbean, to intensify into the 12th Atlantic hurricane of 2020 on Monday. Eta is the 28th named storm of a historic season, which has tied 2005 for most storms on record.  

The slow-moving system, which is expected to hit Nicaragua on Tuesday, could cause life-threatening flash flooding over portions of Central America, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm had maximum sustained winds Sunday morning of 40 mph,. It was centered about 400 miles east of the Nicaragua-Honduras border and was heading westward at 15 mph.

A hurricane warning was in effect from the Honduras/Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi, the center said. 

Central and northern Nicaragua into much of Honduras could get 15 to 25 inches, and isolated areas could be swamped with up to 35 inches. Heavy rains also are likely in eastern Guatemala, southern Haiti, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Life-threatening flash flooding and mountain landslides also loomed, the hurricane center warned. 

Tropical Storm Eta forms: Eta forms in Caribbean, ties record for most named storms

Eta’s path after it lashes Central American is uncertain. The storm could dissipate, according to weather.com, or linger and move back over the western Caribbean and re-intensify later this week.

Eta formed barely days after Hurricane Zeta made landfall Wednesday near Cocoderie, Louisiana, as a Category 2 storm with winds of 110 mph.

Zeta was the 11th tropical storm or hurricane to hit the U.S. this year, an all-time record high for the nation. Louisiana has bore the brunt of the relentless season, getting smacked by two tropical storms and three hurricanes. 

Although this year has been record-breaking, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did predict a busy Atlantic hurricane season in May: 13 to 19 named storms. That number included tropical storms, which contain wind speeds of 39 mph or higher. Storms become hurricanes when winds reach 74 mph.

“NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator, said at the time. 

Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.

Contributing: Doyle Rice; The Associated Press

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