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Nov 16, 2020

Hurricane Iota Barrels Towards Northeastern Nicaragua

Nicaragua is for a second time in less than three weeks is bracing for another massive hurricane.  Iota, a category five storm, the strongest Atlantic weather system to form in November, is expected to bring devastation to Central America when it makes landfall tonight.  While relief organizations are stretched thin in the wake of Hurricane Eta, southern Belize is bracing for catastrophic winds and torrential rainfall.  This evening, Chief Meteorological Officer Ronald Gordon provided the latest information on Iota’s path and what we can expect in the next two days.


Ronald Gordon, Chief Meteorological Officer

“The latest update from the National Hurricane Center on Hurricane Iota, as of three o‘clock local time this evening, the hurricane was centered near latitude 13.6 degrees north, longitude 27 degrees west and that puts it at about fifty-five miles east, southeast of Puerto Cabesas, Nicaragua and in terms of the distance from Belize, that‘s about four hundred and fifty miles southeast of Belize City.  Iota was moving to the west at nine miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of a hundred and sixty miles per hour.  That makes Iota a powerfully dangerous category five hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.  The forecast for this hurricane is for it to continue moving to the west and maintain its intensity as a category five and then make landfall over northeastern Nicaragua tonight.  After landfall the hurricane will rapidly weaken as it moves over land and eventually dissipate around mid-week over the rugged terrains of Central America, somewhere over Honduras near the border with El Salvador.  This system will impact Belize and the major impact will be rainfall.  We are expecting at least ten inches of rainfall.  We are expecting at least ten inches of rainfall over the country, that‘s for the total rainfall for the week from Hurricane Iota as it tracks across Central America.  These rainfalls coupled with the rains that we‘ve already got from Hurricane Eta will compound the flooding situation over various parts of the country.  Our soils are already saturated and with additional rainfall we can expect more flooding.  The highest rainfall totals that we expect will occur over southern Belize from this system where we’re looking at upwards of ten inches and possibly twenty inches in extreme scenarios.  In terms of the impact from winds, we are expecting winds to increase and become strong and gusty starting tonight but becoming even so more on Tuesday night into Wednesday.  Our forecast suggests winds of about ten to twenty knots which could be dangerous especially for operators of small crafts.  So similar to what we had with the previous hurricane, we are issuing a small craft warning meaning that in terms of small vessels [they] should remain in safe harbor for the duration of the storm.”

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