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Hurricane Iota’s landfall was just 15 miles from Hurricane Eta’s

November 17, 2020

Hurricane Iota’s landfall location was just 15 miles (25 km) south of where Hurricane Eta made landfall just two weeks earlier, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The two major hurricanes entered Central America along the northeastern coast of Nicaragua, near the town of Puerto Cabezas. Both officially made landfall as Category 4 storms, though Iota approached the isthmus as a Category 5.

At least 40,000 people in Nicaragua were evacuated to shelters before Iota’s arrival, according to local media.

Iota is forecast to directly impact Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador before disappearing entirely within 36 hours.

Iota rapidly weakening overland

Hurricane Iota is rapidly weakening over the mountainous Central American terrain, per the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Tuesday morning.

With sustained wind speeds of 75 mph, “ there are still life-threatening hazards ongoing for central America, including flash flooding and mud slides, which could result in potentially catastrophic effects.”

The damage caused by Hurricane Iota is expected to compound upon Eta’s destruction from earlier this month.

The NHC issued the following rain forecasts for Central America:

  • Honduras, northern Nicaragua, southeast and central Guatemala and
    southern Belize: 10 to 20 inches (250 to 500 mm), with isolated
    maximum totals of 30 inches (750 mm).
  • El Salvador and Panama: 4 to 8 inches (100 to 200 mm), with isolated
    maximum totals of 12 inches (300 mm).
  • Southern Nicaragua and Costa Rica: 3 to 5 inches (75 to 125 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches (250 mm).

Rainfall may lead to significant, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain.

SURF: Swells generated by Iota will affect much of the coast of Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula during the next day or so. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Hurricane Iota’s impact on Costa Rica

Hurricane Iota is causing indirect impacts on Costa Rica.

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) says 88 people have been evacuated to shelters, the majority in the northern canton of Santa Cruz.

While heavy rains were expected overnight, Teletica reports that Nosara (Guanacaste) awoke Tuesday without significant affectation.

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) has not announced any major road closures related to Iota. However, persistent rainfall may cause mudslides or other damage, and drivers should exercise caution.

Tenorio National Park near Bijagua de Upala announced a temporary closure due to heavy rains and winds provoked by Iota.

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