Iota made landfall Monday on Nicaragua’s northern Caribbean coast as a maximum Category 5 hurricane, accompanied by catastrophic winds, rain and storm surge, a top meteorological official said.
“This powerful hurricane Iota is already on the front line, it’s already on land. At the moment, the eye of the hurricane is already touching the border of the Haulover coast” in the Caribbean, Marcio Baca, director of meteorology at the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (INETER), told a press conference.
Iota eyewall over Nicaragua
The western eyewall of Iota is “over Nicaragua,” the U.S.-based National Hurricane Center said Monday night.
“Catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall occurring in Central America,” the NHC reported.
“This remains a catastrophic situation for northeastern Nicaragua with an extreme storm surge of 15-20 ft forecast along with destructive winds and potentially 30 inches of rainfall, and it is exacerbated by the fact that it should make landfall in almost the exact same location that category 4 Hurricane Eta did a little less than two weeks ago.”
Costa Rica expresses ‘solidarity’
Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado on Monday issued a message in support of Nicaragua and other Central American countries.
“Our solidarity with our Nicaraguan, Honduran and Salvadoran brothers,” he wrote, hours after meeting with presidents of those nations in an effort to coordinate international aid.
Costa Rica will suffer indirect effects from Iota, which will include increased rainfall in the Pacific regions over the course of the week.
“I stay in constant communication with the president of the CNE to support and promote actions to alert and assist the population,” Alvarado said. “The institutions are still working in the areas impacted by Eta, so we cannot lower our guard.
“We must be prepared in the areas of greatest vulnerability: the entire Pacific and North Zone of the country.”