Fair warning: This story could prove to be as premature as a Florida presidential pollster.
But in what might be one of the most 2020 things imaginable, there’s a chance Augusta National Golf Club could have a tropical storm overhead or nearby during the run-up to next week’s Masters.
Tropical Storm Eta – former Category 4 Hurricane Eta – crashed into Central America on Tuesday with 140-mph winds at landfall. Full estimates of the tremendous damage in Nicaragua and Honduras might not be available for days or longer.
The National Hurricane Center, as of 2 p.m. ET Wednesday, predicts the storm will curve north across Central America before reaching open water again Friday, then cross Cuba on Sunday morning and possibly reach Florida’s peninsula Monday as a tropical storm. The very early track has the storm passing just offshore of the peninsula and possibly making landfall in Florida not too far south of the Tampa area.
Again, this is very early. But it’s worth keeping an eye out in regard to the Masters, because many storms that travel up the west coast of Florida keep trucking right into Georgia. Heavy rains are frequent in such scenarios.
Of course, it could go east into the Atlantic. It could turn sharply across Florida. It could fizzle out. It’s a storm and it could go just about anywhere – these things are more difficult to read than a sidehill, downhill putt on No. 18 with a green jacket on the line.
Still, it’s not out of the question that by Tuesday, Wednesday or even Thursday – the first day of the coronavirus pandemic-delayed Masters – of next week, the storm could bring heavy rains to Georgia. And as the NHC says on its weather maps, “Hazardous conditions can occur outside of the cone.”
With the major championship having been moved from April to November, we’re already in for a Masters unlike any other. Not saying this storm is going to impact Georgia at all, but the way this year is going, the top players in the world might want to make sure to pack their rain gear.