Eta drenches Florida, likely to strengthen

·2-min read

Tropical Storm Eta has unleashed torrential rain on southern Florida after making landfall in the Keys, flooding roads and neighbourhoods and knocking out power for thousands as it moves back over the Gulf of Mexico.

Located 230 kilometres west-southwest of the Dry Tortugas and moving further into the Gulf, Eta was expected to slow and strengthen on Monday night into Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

In Broward County, on the southeast of the state's peninsula, roads were entirely submerged, video on Twitter showed.

From her home in Weston, Florida, Danielle Taylor, 26, saw people wading knee-deep and rowing canoes along the street on Monday morning after the rain stopped.

Taylor, who was not among the more than 28,000 customers in Florida without power on Monday afternoon, according to poweroutage.us, said she watched cars trying to drive down the inundated road.

"They were struggling," she said.

Eta made landfall on Lower Matecumbe Key, part of an archipelago off Florida' southern tip, just before midnight on Sunday as a strong tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 km/h.

Earlier on Sunday, it battered central Cuba with torrential rain, bursting river banks and triggering flash flooding.

The storm was projected to drop another 75 mm of rain on parts of south Florida, which would add up to isolated maximum totals of 450 mm of rainfall in some parts of the region, the NHC advisory said.

Eta was forecast to make a dip southwest on Monday before shifting back to the northeast by Wednesday, the NHC said.

Though currently moving offshore, Eta could still pose a threat to Florida later this week.

"Eta could approach the Florida Gulf Coast later this week as a tropical storm and possibly bring impacts from rain, wind and storm surge," the advisory said.