Tropical Storm Eta is expected to pick up strength as it pivots east out of Central America back into the Gulf of Mexico toward Florida, where heavy rains are expected by the weekend.

Eta strengthened to a category four hurricane after making landfall in Nicaragua early this week, but it quickly lost strength, becoming a Tropical Storm. The event caused significant damage to some of the impoverished communities in Central America, leaving one person dead in Nicaragua and another in Honduras.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center expects Eta to continue dumping heavy rains on parts of Central America. “Life-threatening” flooding is expected across the region, while flash floods are expected across Jamaica, north to parts of Mexico and into Haiti and the Cayman Islands.

“While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, magnitude and location of possible impacts from wind and rainfall, interests in Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys should monitor the progress of Eta through the week,” the latest forecast read.

Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega put nation on high alert last weekend. Hurricane Mitch in 1998 left more than 10,000 people dead in the country.

The National Weather Service in Naples, Fla., forecasts rain as soon as Thursday. Winds as strong as 33 mph are expected by Saturday.

Eta is the 28th named storm in the current Atlantic hurricane season, making it one of the busiest on record.

Tropical Storm Eta expected to bring rains as far north as Florida by the weekend. Tropical Storm Eta expected to bring rains as far north as Florida by the weekend. Photo: U.S. National Hurricane Center