Latest blow for Gulf Coast amid record-setting storm season - NBC's Wendy Woolfolk reports
ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. (KYMA, KECY) - This hurricane season has seen 29 named storms, 12 of which made landfall in the U.S. That breaks the record of nine set back in 1916.
Tropical Storm Eta is also defying tradition. This week the storm hit Florida not once, but twice. Overnight it roared ashore on the state's west coast packing powerful winds and strong rain.
"It's just about Thanksgiving and we're still dealing with a hurricane" said Cindy Shuster from St. Pete Beach.
Daylight revealed the patch of destruction; boats tossed on beaches, and debris littering seaside highways. Some flooded streets turned into rivers, but Floridians took the storm in stride.
"Kind of Florida normal for us." said resident Jackie Despirt
But there's nothing normal about Eta's path. Thursday's landfall was the storm's fourth overall. First the storm visited Nicaragua, then wound across the Caribbean to Cuba. In moved into the Florida Keys Sunday, then twisted again just north of Tampa.
And it's not finished yet. It's now pummeling Tybee Island, Georgia with driving rain as it pushes up the East Coast.
Flash flooding caused swollen rivers in North Carolina to carry away everything on their banks. Swiftwater rescue teams had to evacuate 31 people from a campground there. Three adults and one child are still missing.
In Charlotte, it was difficult to even make it out of school parking lots. High water reached car rooftops.
Forecasters predict Eta to move quickly off into the Atlantic with little more than two-weeks left in a record-breaking hurricane season.