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Tropical Storm Eta meandering off western Cuba; rain expected in Charleston area

  • Updated
Tuesday 1pm Eta track

Tropical Storm Eta's projected track. National Hurricane Center/Provided

Tropical Storm Eta remained "nearly stationary" off the coast of western Cuba on Tuesday, but with a slow move north expected to take place Wednesday and Thursday.

While there is a forecast for some strengthening over the next few days, possible impacts to South Carolina are still unknown. 

In the National Hurricane Center's update Tuesday afternoon, Eta was about 90 miles north of Cuba's western tip. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. 

"Eta has been nearly stationary this morning, and little motion is expected today," the Hurricane Center said.

A slow northward motion is forecast to continue through Thursday.

Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 60 miles from Eta's center, the Hurricane Center said.  

Eta was expected to bring rain to western Cuba and south Florida, and swells to the northern coast of Cuba, the northwestern Bahamas, southern and western Florida and the Florida Keys.

"Some strengthening is forecast through Thursday morning, and Eta could be near hurricane strength by Wednesday night or Thursday morning," the Hurricane Center said. 

Gradual weakening is expected to begin Thursday.

National Weather Service forecasters don't expect major impacts to Charleston or the rest of the Lowcountry, but with the storm still far away, much depends on how Eta tracks as it moves closer. 

What is known is that a rainy week is expected in the Holy City. 

It's highly unlikely that Eta will have a direct impact on the Charleston area, but the storm is poised to increase the amount of atmospheric moisture present over the region, said Jonathan Lamb, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's North Charleston office. 

That means rain might be a little heavier or spread out over a wider area for the next several days as Eta lingers in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Lamb said. 

Showers are predicted every day through Saturday, according to the National Weather Service's latest available forecast. 

Shamira McCray contributed this report. 

Reach Gregory Yee at 843-937-5908. Follow him on Twitter @GregoryYYee.

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