Tropical Storm Eta makes landfall in Florida, man dies after being electrocuted in standing water

National forecast for Thursday, Nov. 12

Janice Dean has your FoxCast.

A swirling Tropical Storm Eta made its final landfall early Thursday morning along Florida's west coast, bringing heavy rain inland, as the storm's floodwaters have been blamed for at least one death. 

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that Eta made landfall near Cedar Key, Fla. at 4 a.m. with maximum sustained winds at 50 mph. 

"It's going to continue to quickly move north and east, with the potential for flash flooding along its path as it finally exits out into the Atlantic," Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean said on "Fox & Friends." "Helping a cold front along as well, so showers and thunderstorms not only for Florida, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, up towards the Northeast as this cold front moves on through."


Eta's second landfall in Florida and fourth overall came after striking the Keys last week and bringing drenching rains to South Florida. Eta briefly gained hurricane strength on Wednesday morning, but hours later it weakened to tropical storm status.

Tropical Storm Eta can be seen moving across Florida on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.

At its strongest, the storm was nearly a Category 5 hurricane as it blasted into Central America and Mexico where it killed 120 people and left scores more missing.

Tropical Storm Eta is bringing heavy rain to north and central Florida on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020.
(Fox News)

Eta is finally now a weakening tropical storm, moving quickly to the Northeast, according to the NHC.

The forecast track of Tropical Storm Eta.
(Fox News)

The storm is still bringing the risk of heavy rain and strong winds as it crosses Florida and into the Atlantic Ocean by Friday, where it is forecast to dissipate by the weekend.

Flood advisories across Florida from Tropical Storm Eta.
(Fox News)

"So still gusty winds, flash flooding is going to be a possibility as well as isolated tornadoes on the path of the storm as we go out to Friday," Dean said Thursday. "By tomorrow it will be well out to sea which will be great news."

Forecast radar of where Eta’s heavy rains will spread on Thursday.
(Fox News)

The storm brought soaking rains and storm surge to the Tampa Bay metro area, home to more than 3.5 million across five coastal counties.

Radar from the past 24 hours shows rains associated with Tropical Storm Eta.
(Fox News)

No mandatory evacuations were ordered, but local authorities opened up shelters for anyone who needed them. The heavy rains and storm surge flooded coastal areas, as neighborhoods saw waters rise during high tide.

Flooding was reported across the Tampa Bay metro area as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta impacted the region on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.
(Pasco County SHeriff’s OFfice)

A man in Bradenton Beach was killed Wednesday night after being electrocuted while walking through standing water in his home. 

Police said the incident happened around 5:30 p.m. as the man was walking through standing water in a storage area of the home. 

Flooding was reported across the Tampa Bay metro area as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta impacted the region on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.
(Sarasota Police Department)

"We do believe there was an electrocution in that residence, whether it was a downed power line or some type of electricity from the home itself," Jacob Saur with Manatee County Public Safety told FOX13. "We did find the resident dead once we were able to gain access after de-energizing the home and the home had standing water."


A firefighter sustained a minor injury when trying to access the scene, according to FOX13. Officials had to wait for Florida Power & Light crews to turn off power to the neighborhood.

Residents in one mobile home park were stuck in their homes Thursday morning after flooding inundated streets in St. Petersburg. Neighbors said they are used to flooding streets after a heavy rain, but they have never seen it this bad.

"My place is kind of on a hill," resident Daniel Mills told FOX13. "So, if it gets up on my porch, it's definitely something dangerous and my roommate actually called me and said the water is getting up to the last step of our porch."

The storm forced officials to close some lanes on two of the three bridges that cross Tampa Bay, connecting the St. Petersburg area to Tampa, FOX13 reported.

The Florida Highway Patrol also closed the Sunshine Skyway Bridge that links Pinellas and Manatee counties because of high winds that lingered into Thursday morning. Tampa International Airport suspended operations Wednesday afternoon, with plans to reopen no later than noon Thursday.

Several tornado warnings were issued as Eta swirled closer to the coast, but there were no reports of one touching down.


The forecast prompted school officials in Pasco and Pinellas counties, which includes St. Petersburg, to send students home early on Wednesday. Both counties announced schools would remain closed Thursday, while neighboring Hillsborough County planned to keep schools closed through Friday.

Downed trees were reported across the Tampa Bay metro area as heavy rains from Tropical Storm Eta impacted the region on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020.
(Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office)

Also in Tampa, the Busch Gardens theme park announced it was closed Wednesday, and several Veterans Day events in the area were canceled by the storm.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an expanded emergency declaration to include 13 counties along or near the Gulf Coast, adding them to South Florida counties. DeSantis also asked for an early emergency order from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to free resources needed to tackle the storm. President Trump granted the request Wednesday evening.

Tropical Storm Eta was the 28th named storm of a busy Atlantic hurricane season, tying the 2005 record for named storms. And late Monday, it was followed by the 29th storm, Theta, located far out in the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of miles from the Azores.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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