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Tropical Weather

2 Weeks After Eta, Nicaragua Braces For Massive Hurricane Iota

Navy members help evacuate people on a boat from the Karata and Wawa Bar communities ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Iota in Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, on Sunday.
Navy members help evacuate people on a boat from the Karata and Wawa Bar communities ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Iota in Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, on Sunday.

Updated at 7 a.m. ET

An extremely powerful Hurricane Iota, with maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, was moving toward the Nicaraguan coast, where it was expected to make landfall later later Monday, just two weeks after the Central American country weathered Hurricane Eta.

Iota is the 30 th named storm of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. Hurricane Eta, which made landfall in Nicaragua earlier this month as a Category 4 storm already wreaked havoc, killing at least 120 people in flash floods and mudslides in parts of Central America and Mexico before crossing Cuba and slicing through Florida.

As of 7:00 a.m. ET, Iota had strengthened and was located 20 miles northeast of the Colombian island of Providencia. It was moving west at 10 mph, according to the U.S.-based National Hurricane Center.

The NHC says Iota has the potential to bring catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge and extreme rainfall to Central America when it makes landfall Monday evening as a Category 4 storm.

Forecasters said the latest storm could dump 8 to 16 inches of rain in northern Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and southern Belize.

By Sunday evening, some 63,500 people had been evacuated in northern Honduras, according to official reports, with Nicaraguan officials saying Sunday afternoon that 1,500 people had been moved from low-lying areas of the country's northeast, including the inhabitants of Cayo Misquitos.

In Bilwi, where Eta made landfall on Nov. 3, residents were fearful that their homes might not stand up to the latest storm so soon after weathering the last one, The Associated Press reports.

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