Where Is Hurricane Iota Headed? Category 4 Storm's Path, Landfall Predictions

This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Iota in the North Atlantic Ocean on Monday Nov. 16 2020 at 07:11 EST

It hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 120 people as torrential rains caused flash floods and mudslides in parts of Central America and Mexico.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) will activate on Monday, November 16, at 1300 UTC, for Hurricane Iota, now a strong Category 1 storm.

The hurricane center also expects the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras will see a life-threatening storm surge as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels, with large and risky waves near the coast.

Evacuations were being conducted from low-lying areas in Nicaragua and Honduras near their shared border, which appeared to be Iota's likely landfall.

"Rapid strengthening is expected during the next 24 hours, and Iota is forecast to be an extremely risky category 4 hurricane when it approaches Central America", the National Hurricane Center said in a 7 p.m. Sunday public advisory.

A Hurricane Warning continues for Colombia's Providencia Island, the coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras / Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi and the coast of north-eastern Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras / Nicaragua border.

Iota became the 13th Hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane season early Sunday morning - the only other season that has had more than 12 hurricanes was 2005 which had 15.

A hurricane hunter aircraft has found that the storm's maximum sustained winds have increased to near 155 miles per hour with higher gusts, making it a powerful Category 4 hurricane. It's also the ninth storm to rapidly intensify this season, a risky phenomenon that is happening increasingly more often.

Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua announced evacuations last week, even as the region was still reeling from the devastation inflicted by previous storm Eta. Such activity has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger and more destructive storms.

The NHC warned that Iota would deposit 10 to 20 inches (250 to 500 mm) of rain on Honduras, northern Nicaragua, southeast Guatemala and southern Belize, with isolated totals of up to 30 inches.

Iota could also bring heavy rainfall and flooding to portions of Haiti and Jamaica, with possible landslides, forecasters said. Theta, the 29th, was weakening over the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. Its expanding tropical storm-force winds stretch 125 miles.

The official end of the hurricane season is November 30.

Navy members help evacuate people on a boat from the Karata and Wawa Bar communities ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Iota in Bilwi, Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, on Sunday.

Iota is forecast to bring 150 miles per hour winds and as much as 30 inches of rain in some areas.

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