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Eta: A tale of 2 models

Areas of Fort Lauderdale flooded from Tropical Storm Eta
Areas of Fort Lauderdale flooded from Tropical Storm Eta

With 6 to 10 inches of rain in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area since last Thursday, Florida is hoping Eta will continue to drift west and wash itself out over the Gulf. That might happen. However, the European model and NHC forecast is persistent with a slow north and then northeast trek across northern Florida, which would mean more rain in a different location. Here’s the Euro this morning:

European Model courtesy Weathermodels
European Model courtesy Weathermodels

The surface features would support this with a weak front limping through here tomorrow and Wednesday, settling along the northern Gulf Coast by Friday, thereby picking up Eta to move it northeast:

Friday morning courtesy the Weather Prediction Center
Friday morning courtesy the Weather Prediction Center

So Friday the 13th may be unlucky for Tampa to Jacksonville and into south Georgia if this verifies.

The American model

The GFS, or American model, has consistently shown quite the opposite with ETA drifting west and eventually moving north. Here’s the latest:

American Model courtesy Tropical Tidbits
American Model courtesy Tropical Tidbits

This model suggests that no front gets involved until Sunday, so high pressure continues to send Eta on its westerly drift. Cold water would weaken the system and the leftovers get pulled into the U.S. along the Louisiana/Mississippi/Alabama coast at the end of the weekend or early next week.

Obviously, we have a while to watch this and the path over time will become more certain. As they say on TV, stay tuned!

Frank

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