In a season that overlapped the coronavirus pandemic, most storms spun away from Florida, sparing communities double-barreled crises of responding to a major storm while contending with restrictions and safety concerns imposed by the coronavirus.
Weather and Climate
Flagler County was preparing to weather a late-season tropical storm as ex-Hurricane Eta was made landfall in the Cedar Key area Thursday morning then started its rapid churn toward Flagler and Northeast Florida.
The governor’s order said the action was being taken “in an abundance of caution,” while the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory that “Eta could be near hurricane strength as it approaches Florida.”
Tropical Storm Isaias will not be much of an issue anymore and evacuations in Flagler won;t be required as emergency personnel ramped down their response Sunday afternoon.
A tropical cyclone moving over the Caribbean is not expected to bring more than wind and rain by Saturday evening or Sunday morning to the Flagler region, and current forecasts don’t see it developing into a hurricane.
Flagler County’s emergency and public health officials are preparing for an unprecedented battle on two fronts, with reconfigured shelters and rules but the same stress on compliance with evacuation orders if and when they’re issued, regardless of Covid-19 fears.
Division of Emergency Management Director Jared Moskowitz said last week his agency is redeveloping plans about evacuations and shelters, while also adding facemasks to the state’s stockpile of storm supplies.
NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center extended its tornado watch to include all of Flagler County, including Palm Coast, Putnam and Marion counties until 11 a.m. A wind advisory is in effect until 4 p.m.
The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for northern Flagler County, including areas of Palm Coast, St. Johns and Putnam counties through 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Much-needed rain and some thunderstorms are in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, with rain totals of up to 1.5 inches in the Flagler-Palm Coast region, according to the National Weather Service.