Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Hurricane Iota rapidly weakening over Nicaragua

Photo: US National Hurricane

Photo: US National Hurricane

Hurricane Iota has been downgraded to a category one hurricane as it journeys west over Nicaragua.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Iota’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 85 mph (135 km/h) with higher gusts.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 965 mb (28.50 inches). Additional rapid weakening is expected today into Wednesday and Iota is forecast to dissipate over Central America by Wednesday night.

(Photo: US National Hurricane Centre)

At 7am EST, the centre of Hurricane Iota was located inland over Nicaragua about 15 miles (25 km) west-northwest of El Pia and about 90 miles (145 km) west-southwest of Puerto Cabezas.

NHC said Iota is moving toward the west near nine mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue during the next day or so. 

On the forecast track, Iota will move farther inland across northern Nicaragua today, and move across southern Honduras tonight and Wednesday.

Iota is expected to produce the following rainfall accumulations through Thursday:

  • 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: four to eight inches (100 to 200 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches (300 mm).
  • Southern Nicaragua and Costa Rica: three to five inches (75 to 125 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches (250 mm).

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

A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as five to 10 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds along the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.

Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

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