By MAX GOLEMBO, EMILY SHAPIRO and DAN PECK, ABC News
(NEW YORK) — Eta has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it closes in on Florida, where it’s expected to make landfall overnight.
A tropical storm warning is in effect along much of the western Florida peninsula, from Fort Myers to Tampa and up to Gainesville.
Heavy rain, storm surge and gusty winds are already slamming the Tampa area, where conditions are expected to worsen throughout the day.
Tampa International Airport suspended all operations at 3 p.m. Operations are expected to resume Thursday by noon.
The University of Florida canceled Thursday classes as the storm closes in on Gainesville.
Tampa Bay could see a storm surge of up to 5 feet. The west coast of Florida could see up to 6 inches of rain.
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO- View of then TS #Eta’s center of circulation during @NOAA WP-3D Orion #NOAA42 Kermit’s Nov. 10, 2020 mission. Credit: Lt. Cmdr. Kevin Doremus, NOAA Corps. Follow @NHC_Atlantic for latest forecast. #FlyNOAA pic.twitter.com/mdzgamvBfg
— NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (@NOAA_HurrHunter) November 11, 2020
A tornado watch has also been issued for Tampa, Fort Myers and Cedar Key.
Eta is forecast to make landfall overnight before quickly moving across northeastern Florida.
By Thursday morning, the heaviest rain and wind will have left Tampa and will be focused on Daytona Beach and Jacksonville. By midday Thursday, conditions should be improved.
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