NEW ORLEANS — Tropical Depression 29 has formed in the central Caribbean Sea. It will likely become Tropical Storm Eta later this weekend as it moves westward toward Central America.
The National Hurricane Center's forecast path shows it becoming a hurricane and moving into Nicaragua or Honduras Monday night or early Tuesday. Once there, it should weaken significantly over land.
Its long-range path is uncertain - some models have it dissipating over Central America. A few models show the system slowing down and eventually heading north toward Cuba, Florida and the southeast Gulf of Mexico.
This is not an immediate threat to our part of the Gulf Coast, but we'll watch it closely. If does drift north toward Cuba or the southeast Gulf, it wouldn't reach that area until next weekend, so we have time to watch what it does.
When it becomes Eta, this will be the first Eta on record in the Atlantic basin and will tie the year 2005 for the highest number of named storms in a year, which is 28. (In 2005, the last name used was Zeta, but an extra unnamed tropical storm was added later after a reanalysis, so both seasons will have had 28 tropical storms and hurricanes.)
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