Hurricane Iota barrels towards Central America

Hurricane Iota, upgraded to a Category 1 storm, approached Central America on Sunday as countries turning from the devastation that Hurricane Eta released nearly two weeks ago were preparing for another major storm.

“It’s spooky that it’s similar to wind speed, and also in the same area that Eta hit,” said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman and meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Hurricane Iota is expected to land along the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras by Monday night as a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. The storm continued to intensify “quickly”, towards Sunday at 4 p.m. advisory. It was about 285 miles east-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios, on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras, and was moving west at nine miles per hour, with a maximum maintained wind of 90 mph.

The impact of the storm will be felt “even before the center falls to the ground,” Mr Feltgen said.

Catastrophic winds, along with life-threatening rising water levels, could affect parts of Nicaragua’s coast and Honduras. Heavy rains are expected by Friday in parts of Central America and could lead to intense floods and landslides in elevated areas. The storm should weaken after landing on land as it moves through mountainous terrain, the center said.

Forecasters have warned that damage from Hurricane Iota could lead to destruction caused by Hurricane Eta in Central America.

More than 60 deaths across Central America from Hurricane Eta have been confirmed. In Guatemala, rescuers feared more than 100 people were killed after a storm cut off part of a mountain slope that shattered several homes in the village of Quejá.

Many people were left homeless after numerous buildings were damaged or destroyed, Mr Feltgen said. “Shelter will be a problem.”

The Atlantic hurricane season 2020, which should end on November 30, recorded record activities: 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes. Meteorologists have exhausted a list of 21 names used each season, turning to the Greek alphabet by name systems. The last time the Greek alphabet was used was in 2005, which recorded 28 storms strong enough to be named.

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