A strengthened Tropical Storm Eta made landfall on Cuba early Sunday and had its sights set on the southern tip of Florida after leaving dozens dead and over 100 missing in Central America, where it hit last week as a major hurricane. Eta breached Cuba even as searchers in Guatemala were still digging for people buried by a massive landslide. Authorities say 15 people are confirmed dead and at least 109 missing in Guatemala, many in the landslide in San Cristobal Verapaz. Pope Francis on Sunday spoke about the population hit “by a violent hurricane, which has caused many victims and huge damage, worsened as well by the already difficult situation due to the pandemic.” Speaking to faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the AP reports Francis prayed that “the Lord welcome the deceased, comfort their families and sustain all those so tired."
The US National Hurricane Center issued tropical storm warnings for southern Florida and the Florida Keys, and warnings were issued for central Cuba; parts of southern Florida and the Keys were even put under a hurricane watch. The Hurricane Center said Eta was about 60 miles southwest of Canagua, Cuba, Sunday morning and moving north-northeast at 12mph. Maximum sustained winds had decreased slightly to 60mph. The system was expected to approach the Florida Keys and south Florida late Sunday or Monday. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency Saturday for eight counties at the end of the state as Eta approached, urging residents to stock up on supplies. South Florida started emptying ports and a small number of shelters opened in Miami and the Florida Keys for residents in mobile homes and low lying areas. Miami-Dade County declared a state of emergency Friday and also warned a flood watch would be in effect through Tuesday night.
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