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Tropical Storm Eta makes landfall in Florida

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Tropical Storm Eta made its fourth landfall on the Florida coast early Thursday morning, with winds of 50 mph that extend 115 miles from the storm's center, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The powerful storm is dousing the already storm-damaged coastal region with heavy rains and wind.

More than 15,000 customers in Florida are currently without power, according to PowerOutage.US.

Eta's fourth landfall in Florida was preceded by heavy rainfall and tropical storm-force winds and much of Wednesday. 

According to CNN, officials in areas such as St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Madeira Beach have already responded to reports of roofs torn off and flooded streets.

On Wednesday, Eta briefly gained strength to become a hurricane once again, before weakening back to tropical storm status.

Despite the reduced status, Eta is still powerful enough to cause signficant damage to the area. 

Weather experts say that in addition to tropical-storm-force winds and up to hurricane-force gusts, much of western and central Florida will sustain another 1 to 3 inches of rainfall through Thursday, adding to the more than 6 inches some areas already received in the last 24 hours.

The onshore push from winds will result in 2 to 5 feet of storm surge along much of Florida's west coast, including the very vulnerable Tampa Bay area. 

Water levels are already 2 to 3 feet above normal and the water will continue to pile up over the next several hours.

Eta is forecast to dissipate over the western Atlantic Ocean by the weekend, the NHC said.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has set the record for most named storms in a single season with 29 so far.

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