Storm Eta: Around 150 feared dead in Guatemala

Katie Ramirez
November 7, 2020

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said on Thursday more than 50 people had died - though the country's disaster authority, Conred, said there had only been eight confirmed deaths, and the rest of the 50 were counted as missing.

What's the latest? As of the most recent update from the National Hurricane Center, Eta is still a Tropical Depression, with 35 miles per hour maximum sustained wind.

SURGE: Surge is not expected to be a major issue for Southwest Florida, however, as Eta moves away from us, our winds will turn onshore and bring the potential for minor surge across southern Collier County.

The countries of the isthmus remained covered in fog or light rains Friday, a relief after the downpours that Eta caused in the region since Tuesday, when it made landfall in Nicaragua's North Caribbean as a powerful Category 4 hurricane.

The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center has Eta as a strong tropical storm with winds near 65 miles per hour near our coast Monday.

In Guatemala, the first army brigade reached a massive landslide Friday morning in the central mountains where an estimated 150 homes were buried Thursday.

- The Cayman Islands into portions of Cuba: 10 to 20 inches (255 to 510 mm), isolated maximum totals of 30 inches (760 mm).

"We will not leave the area until we rescue the last person", Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez told media, adding that rescue efforts led by police, soldiers and firefighters will continue overnight.

It had been raining hard since Monday even though Eta's centre didn't enter Honduras until Wednesday.

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As of Friday's update, Eta is not now expected to strengthen into a hurricane within the next five days.

Damage and destruction had spread across most of Honduras and speedboats and helicopters would be sent to take people to safety in inaccessible areas, Hernandez said earlier in the day.

"We know there are a lot of dead people, we've seen them, but until we receive official information we can't certify them", explained Marvin Aparicio, head of the agency's incident command system.

In El Salvador, a fisherman died, and some 1,700 people remain sheltered due to the risk of flooding, according to authorities there.

Guatemala's Giammattei had already declared a state of emergency in almost half of the country's 22 departments.

Near the Costa Rican border in Panama's Chiriqui province, five people, including three children, died in flooding, authorities said.

On the forecast track, the center of Eta will approach the Cayman Islands later today, be near central Cuba tonight and Sunday, and near the Florida Keys or south Florida Sunday night and Monday.

From there, Eta will feel the push of high pressure over the northeast USA, and make a hard turn westward toward the Gulf of Mexico. "I'm not convinced we're done with Eta".

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