The tropical storm, “Eta”, is reportedly turning into a Hurricane and is Expected to Hit the Florida Keys very soon.
Storm “Eta” reached Cuba today, Sunday 8th November, with winds of 65 mph (100 kph), and was centered over Cuba about 235 miles (380 kilometers) south-southeast of Miami.
It was tracked moving north at 14 mph (22 kph), having already left a trail of devastation across Central America, with volunteer searchers in Guatemala still digging for people, while Guatemalan Authorities said at least 15 were dead and 109 were missing, many of them in the rain-induced landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz.
Storm “Eta” is now reported by weather agencies to be turning into a full hurricane-force storm and is heading directly for the Southern tip of Florida.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami has declared hurricane and storm surge warnings for the Keys from Ocean Reef to the Dry Tortugas, including Florida Bay, with the storm expected to reach that area by the evening of Monday 9th night or early on Tuesday 10th November.
Pope Francis addressed the people on Sunday and spoke to the faithful in St Peter’s Square about Central America, hit “by a violent hurricane, which has caused many victims and huge damage, worsened as well by the already difficult situation due to the pandemic”, and Francis asked for prayers that “the Lord welcome the deceased, comfort their families and sustain all those so tried, as well as all those who are doing their best to help them.”
Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Saturday 7th November for 8 of the Southernmost counties, after reports that the storm was heading in that direction, and urged occupants to take all necessary precautions.
The storm had initially hit Nicaragua as a category 4 hurricane and left authorities from Panama to Mexico with a string of damages caused by the torrential rains during the week.
Survivor Emilio Caal, aged 65, said he has lost as many as 40 family members and relatives, during the devastating storm, after a landslide sent trees, rocks, and mud all hurtling on top of his home as he was about to sit down to lunch with his family, “My wife is dead, my grandchildren are dead,” said Caal from the nearby hospital.
In neighboring Honduras, 68-year-old María Elena Mejía Guadron drowned when the Chamelecon river poured into her home and swept her away.
In Southern Mexico, Chiapas state civil defense official Elías Morales Rodríguez reported 20 people had died as a result of severe mudslides and flooding.