Hurricane Iota strengthens to become first category 5 storm in 2020

Darnell Taylor
November 17, 2020

Hurricane Iota is now located over the southwest Caribbean Sea about 140 miles (225 km) east of Isla De Providencia, Columbia.

A hurricane hunter aircraft has found that the storm's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 155 miles per hour with higher gusts, making it a powerful Category 4 hurricane.

"Iota has continued to strengthen into a unsafe category 4 hurricane expected to bring potentially catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and extreme rainfall impacts to Central America", explained the National Hurricane Center early Monday.

Iota is forecast to have a risky storm surge of 10 to 15 feet, life-threatening rainfall of 1 to 2 feet, "potentially catastrophic winds" as well as "extreme rainfall" as it comes ashore, the NHC advisory said.

A hurricane warning has been put in effect for the coast of Nicaragua, northeastern Honduras, and Providencia, Colombia.

Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua announced evacuations Friday, even as the region was still reeling from the devastation inflicted by Eta. Authorities said 83,000 people in that region were in danger.

Nicaragua and Honduras look to take a direct hit again, less than two weeks after Category 4 Hurricane Eta targeted the same area.

Several residents of Bilwi expressed concern that their homes would not stand up to Iota, so soon after Eta.

Eta already wreaked havoc.

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According to the National Hurricane Center, heavy rainfall will "likely lead to life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding" throughout Central America.

Eight to 16 inches of rain will also be possible in areas hard-hit by flooding and landslides from Eta, including Nicaragua and Honduras and also Guatemala and southern Belize.

So many, that by October, with the arrival of tropical storm Wilfred in the eastern Atlantic, meteorologists had already used every name on the season's list, causing them to move to the Greek alphabet for names, which had not been necessary since 2005. Which countries are most likely to be impacted by Iota?

"Hurricane-force winds should begin in a few hours, with landfall expected this evening".

Earlier this year, Hannah, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma, Delta, Zeta and Iota all rapidly intensified.

That makes Iota the strongest hurricane according to wind speed of the 2020 Atlantic season.

Tropical Storm Eta became the first storm of the 2020 hurricane season to make landfall in Florida when it moved over the Florida Keys last Sunday.

It is now a category four hurricane with winds of 155mph (245km/h), the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.

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