After Devastating the Coast Previously Pounded by Eta, Iota Downgraded

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Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 major hurricane in Central America. Iota had reached Category 5 strength before making landfall near Haulover, Nicaragua, but became Category 4 with maximum sustained winds near 155 mph as it made landfall.

If Iota was the only hurricane hitting the coast of Nicaragua, it was still quite harmful; however, this area had just been experiencing heavy rainfall and strong wind by Tropical Storm Eta. Iota might have weakened almost immediately once making landfall, but not before releasing heavy flooding rain, catastrophic winds, and mudslides. Swells from the storm will be felt as far north as the Yucatan Peninsula, as far east as Jamacaica, and as far south as Colombia. The landfall was just 15 miles south of Hurricane Eta’s landfall.

As of late Tuesday morning, there were no deaths reported, and the country’s disaster management agency is monitoring several cities in the Rivas region, as well as rivers and placing vulnerable families in shelters, such as those in Rivas and Bilwi. For example, telecommunications have been impacted, and the Bilwi residents have been asked to maintain calm and stay away from dangerous or vulnerable locations.

Although Iota has now downgraded to a tropical storm, it continues to pack winds of 65 mph as of 1 PM EST. The storm is about 105 miles east of Tegucigalpa, which is the Honduran capital. However, the storm is currently projected to dissipate near El Salvador by Wednesday night. Areas such as Hondoruas, Nicaragua, Guatemala, and Belize can expect rain of at least 10 to 30 inches through Thursday, while El Salvador to Panama can expect 4 to 8, with isolated maximums of 12 inches.  The emergency agencies are concerned with swells that could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

This area has seen severe hurricanes, as Hurricane Eta has only hit a week before as Category 4 storm, causing landslides and flooding, displacing thousands and leaving significant number of people dead or missing.

This is the 13th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, brining 30 named storms, which is now the most ever. This is also the latest year there had been a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin. Strong hurricanes are difficult to cope with as is, but in a year where the coronavirus pandemic has made simple things very difficult, these hurricanes are turning out to be more devastating than before.

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