Eta weakens to a tropical storm

Tracking models now have the system further to the west of the Cayman Islands than originally forecast after it emerges in the northwestern Caribbean.

For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre.

Watches and warnings

• A small-craft warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands

• A flood warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands

• A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras/Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi

• A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Nicaragua border

• A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the coast of Nicaragua from south of Sandy Bay Sirpi to Laguna de Perlas

Eta, one of the most powerful storms to hit Central America in recent years, has weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall over Nicaragua Tuesday, according to the US-based National Hurricane Center.

Newer tracking models from the NHC and the Cayman Islands National Weather Service also have shifted to the west, meaning forecasters now expect Eta – or its remnants – may not pass as close to the Cayman Islands as originally thought as it moves towards Cuba and Florida later this week.

“There is still significant uncertainty as to the details of the track in the three-to-five-day time frame,” the NHC said in its 4am advisory.

Cayman remains under small-craft warning and flood warning and is expected to receive up to three-and-a-half inches of rain on Wednesday, the NWS said Tuesday evening.

Vehicles drive by as National Roads Authority workers work near a flooded area of West Bay Road Tuesday afternoon, in West Bay. -Photo: Kevin Morales

Tropical Storm Eta, which hit Nicaragua’s coast Tuesday as a category four hurricane, still poses the risk of “life-threatening flash flooding” as it moves north over portions of Central America this week before emerging in the Caribbean later this week near the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s then expected to regain tropical storm strength as it moves to the northeast past the Cayman Islands area and over Cuba towards Florida.

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The NWS, in its 10pm update Tuesday, said “there is still some uncertainty of the track” but now is shifting its forecast for the system a bit westward and away from the Cayman Islands.

The storm sits about 90 miles west of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua as of 7am Wednesday and is moving to the west at eight miles per hour. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 60mph.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Nicaragua border and the coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras/Nicaragua border to Laguna de Perlas.

At least three people – including a 13-year-old girl – died in mudslides in Nicaragua Tuesday as the storm made landfall.

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