Eta, which had weakened slightly from its hurricane strength earlier on Wednesday to become a tropical storm, is the 28th named storm of the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.
It was projected to make its fourth landfall early on Thursday, this time north of Tampa Bay, after it already slammed Central America, Cuba and the upper Florida Keys.
The west coast of Florida faces "the multiple threats of a landfall hurricane or tropical storm," said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, listing the heavy rainfall, storm surge and possible tornadoes in the forecast.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency in 13 counties in Eta's path on Wednesday and requested that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) declare a pre-landfall state of emergency for those counties as well, to mobilize resources.
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