By MAX GOLEMBO, EMILY SHAPIRO and DAN PECK, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Eta has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it closes in on Florida where it’s expected to make landfall early Thursday.
A hurricane watch is in effect in Tampa Bay, where a storm surge of up to 5 feet is possible.
Heavy rain and gusty winds are moving into the Tampa Bay area where conditions are expected to worsen throughout the day.
On Wednesday evening, wind gusts in Tampa could reach 70 mph.
Tampa International Airport is suspending all operations at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Operations are expected to resume Thursday by noon.
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO- View of then TS #Eta’s center of circulation during @NOAA WP-3D Orion #NOAA42 Kermit’s Nov. 10, 2020 mission. Credit: Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Doremus, NOAA Corps. Follow @NHC_Atlantic for latest forecast. #FlyNOAA pic.twitter.com/mdzgamvBfg
— NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (@NOAA_HurrHunter) November 11, 2020
A tornado watch has also been issued for Tampa, Fort Myers and Naples.
By Thursday morning, the heaviest rain and wind will have left Tampa and will be hitting Florida’s east side, from Jacksonville through Daytona Beach.
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