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Tropical Storm Eta Causes Flooding in South Florida

The power was out Monday morning for more than 40,000 Florida Power & Light customers, mostly in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties. The company said nearly 300,000 people lost power on Sunday as the storm approached and most had already had it restored.

Crews have been out working to restore power in areas where the sustained winds have died down somewhat, such as in Palm Beach County, said Bill Orlove, a company spokesman.

“You can’t fly a bucket truck in winds that exceed 35 miles per hour,” Mr. Orlove said. “Miami is seeing gusts above 40 to 50, but as long as the sustained winds are below that, our crews are able to restore service.”

Eta, the 28th named storm of the 2020 season, is forecast to meander over the warm waters of the Gulf for the next day or two, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm, surrounded by dry air that weakens tropical systems, is no longer expected to strengthen into a hurricane.

It could still turn to the northeast, possibly returning to Florida’s Gulf Coast, but the 10 a.m. advisory from the hurricane center showed a much-deteriorated storm. All tropical storm watches and warnings for Southwest Florida were lifted.

“If the models are correct and the storm doesn’t move to the north, then it’s just going to get sheared apart, just sitting there in the central Gulf of Mexico,” said Stacy Stewart, a senior hurricane specialist with the hurricane center. “The storm is degenerating before our eyes right now.”

There is broad scientific consensus that climate change is one of the central forces behind increasingly extreme weather, including hurricanes, producing worsening floods and more powerful storms.

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