Monday, November 16th 2020, 9:52 pm - Hurricane Iota is expected to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, likely to bring catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rains to Central America.
Iota is the strongest storm of the 2020 Atlantic season and is expected to make landfall in northeastern Nicaragua soon, bringing catastrophic impacts as a Category 4 hurricane.
The hurricane, which experienced rapid intensification Sunday night into Monday, was the first Category 5 storm of the current season. The hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30.
As of Monday night, Iota's maximum sustained winds have dropped down 250 km/h, now a high-end Category 4 storm.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning that catastrophic wind damage is occurring near Iota's eyewall and these winds will spread inland across northern Nicaragua during the next several hours. The storm is currently 45 km south of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.
"On the forecast track, Iota is expected to make landfall in northeastern Nicaragua during the next hour or two and move inland across northern Nicaragua and southern Honduras on Tuesday," the NHC says.
Rapid weakening is forecast after Iota moves inland, and it is expected to dissipate over Central America on Wednesday.
A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 15-20 feet (4.57 metres to 6.10 metres) above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds along the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.
Through Thursday, Iota is expected to produce 250-500 mm of rain in Honduras, northern Nicaragua, southeast Guatemala and southern Belize. Isolated totals of 750 mm, especially from northeast Nicaragua into northern Honduras. As well, it will produce 150-250 mm, with isolated totals of 380 mm, in El Salvador and Panama, and 75-125 mm, with isolated totals of 250 mm, in southern Nicaragua and Costa Rica.
"This rainfall would lead to significant, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain," warns the NHC.
CURRENT WATCHES AND WARNINGS
A hurricane warning is in effect for the coast of Nicaragua, from the Honduras/Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi, as well as the coast of northeastern Honduras, from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Nicaragua border.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for San Andres, areas along the coast of Nicaragua, from south of Sandy Bay Sirpi to Bluefields, the northern coast of Honduras, from west of Punta Patuca to the Guatemala/Honduras border, and Bay Islands.
A RECORD-BREAKING SEASON
2020's Atlantic hurricane season has broken the record for the most named storms in a year (Theta propels 2020 Atlantic hurricane season into the record books).
As mentioned in the video above, the hurricane season is usually wrapping up soon, nevermind brewing its most powerful storm.
We're also in uunprecedented naming territory. After the season exhausted the English alphabet, naming conventions moved onto the Greek alphabet. And never before has the Atlantic produced so many named storms that we've made it all the way to Iota.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates on Iota.