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Hurricane Iota expected to reach Category 4; authorities warn ‘last day’ to prepare

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned Sunday is the “last guaranteed day” to prepare for Hurricane Iota, which is expected to make landfall Monday in Honduras or Nicaragua.

Iota is churning in the Caribbean Sea, where it “continues to rapidly strengthen,” according to the U.S.-based meteorological experts. If it indeed reaches maximum sustained winds of at least 130 mph, it will be the second Category 4 hurricane to impact Central America this month.

“Iota is located within an extremely conducive environment for strengthening,” the NHC said.

“As a result, continued rapid strengthening is expected during the next 24 to 36 hours, and Iota is forecast to become a potentially catastrophic category 4 hurricane before it reaches the coast of northeastern Nicaragua or eastern Honduras.”

Iota is forecast to weaken after making landfall as the storm encounters the mountainous terrain of Central America. Before that occurs, however, the system will cause “potentially catastrophic winds and a life-threatening storm surge” in Nicaragua and Honduras on Monday.

Iota’s indirect effects on Costa Rica

According to the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), Hurricane Iota will provoke changes to the intertropical convergence zone over Costa Rica.

Weather should remain stable through Sunday morning, the IMN forecasts. However, in the afternoon and evening, Costa Rica should expect heavy rainfall in the Central and South Pacific.

Sunday afternoon and evening, the Northern Zone, Central Valley and mountainous regions in the Caribbean will experience strong, but isolated, thunderstorms.

NHC projections indicate parts of Costa Rica have up to a 10% chance of experiencing tropical-storm-force winds over the coming days. (See this story’s header image.)

Heavy rainfall caused by Iota will continue through the first half of next week. Residents of the South Pacific should exercise caution, as ground conditions remain unstable after the impacts of Hurricane Eta.

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