Hurricane Iota landed on the coast of northeastern Nicaragua late Monday night and is expected to cause catastrophic damage to the same part of Central America that was hit by Hurricane Eta less than two weeks ago. The storm was dropped to category 4 just before it landed, but the US National Hurricane Center warned it was still “extremely dangerous.”
The storm occurred near the town of Howlover, about 30 miles south of Puerto Cabezas, around 10:40 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said. It had maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, only shy of 157 mph to be a Category 5, the most powerful ranking a hurricane could have.
Iota hit the Caribbean coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras with torrential rains and strong winds as the western edge began to beat the Nicaraguan coast.
Iota made the land just 1
Iota is expected to rain 10 to 20 inches in northern Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and southern Belize, with up to 30 inches in isolated areas. Costa Rica and Panama may also suffer heavy rains and possible flooding, the hurricane center said.
This stormy tide was in Jasmina Urid’s mind earlier Monday in Billy’s El Muelle neighborhood, sitting close to the sea.
“The situation doesn’t look good at all,” Widrat said. “We woke up without electricity, with rain and the surf is getting very high.”
Wriedt, who works for a small fishing organization called Piquinera, said Eta blew up the roof of her house. “We repaired it as best we could, but now I think the wind will pick it up again because they say Iota is even louder,” Weed said, the sound of a hammer echoing around her as neighbors climbed on windows and reinforced roofs. .
During Eta, the surfer approached her house, where she lives with eight other members of her family. “Today, I’m afraid again of losing my house and I’m afraid of all of us who live in this neighborhood.”
Wriedt said some neighbors had gone to stay with relatives elsewhere, but most had stayed. “We’re almost all here,” she said. “Neither the army nor the government came to move us.”
Cairo Jarkin, Nicaragua’s emergency response project manager, just visited Billy and smaller coastal communities on Friday.
At the Wawa Bar, Jarkin said he had discovered “complete destruction.” People had worked hard to get the roofs back on their families, but now Iota threatened to take the rest.
“The little that is left standing can be destroyed,” Yarkin said. There were other communities further inland that he could not even reach due to the condition of the roads. He said he heard Wawa Bar was evacuated again on Saturday.
During the weekend, evacuations were carried out from low-lying areas in Nicaragua and Honduras near their common border.
Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo, who is also the first lady, said Monday that the government has done everything necessary to protect lives, including the evacuation of thousands. She added that Taiwan had donated 800 tonnes of rice to help those affected by the storms.
Limbort Bucardo, a native of Misquito, said many people had moved to churches in Bilvi. He took Eta and his wife and two children home, but this time decided to move to relatives in a safer neighborhood.
“We hadn’t finished renovating our houses and settled when another hurricane came,” Bucardo said. “Bilvi shelters are already full, full of people from (surrounding) communities.”
Iota is the record-breaking 30th storm of its name in the hectic season of hurricanes in the Atlantic this year. This is the ninth storm that is rapidly intensifying this season, a dangerous phenomenon that occurs more often. Such activities have drawn attention to climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger, more frequent and more destructive storms.
Iota is stronger, based on central pressure, than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and is the first storm named after the Greek alphabet to hit Category 5, said Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. He also set the record for the last recorded Category 5 hurricane, beating the mark set by the hurricane in Cuba on November 8, 1932.
Etta had hit Nicaragua like a Category 4 hurricane, killing more than 130 people as torrential rains caused floods and mudslides in parts of Central America and Mexico. It then meandered through Cuba, Florida Keys and around the Gulf of Mexico, before descending again ashore near Cedar Key, Florida, and dashed through Florida and Carolina.
The prospect of more rain increased the anxiety of the still homeless after Eta.
Eta was this year’s 28th boom, set for a record for 2005. Remains of Theta, the 29th, dissipated on Sunday in the eastern Atlantic.
In the last few decades, meteorologists have been more concerned about storms like Iota, which are feeding much faster than normal. They created an official threshold for this rapid intensification – a storm that reaches a speed of 35 mph in just 24 hours. Iota doubled it.
Earlier this year, Hannah, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma, Delta, Zeta and Iota quickly stepped up. Laura and Delta tied or set fast gain records.
The official end of the hurricane season is November 30.