NOAA: Category 5 Hurricane Iota Track, Spaghetti Models

Daniel Fowler
November 17, 2020

The NHC has warned that heavy rainfall from Iota could lead to "life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding across portions of Central America".

This year's Atlantic hurricane season is the busiest on record, with Iota becoming the 30 named storm and 13 hurricane so far in 2020.

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 unsafe waves near the coast.

Hurricane Iota is located about 100 miles east-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaraguan/Honduran border and is moving to the west at 9 mph (15 km/h).

"Iota is expected to continue to rapidly intensify and could possibly be a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane when it approaches the coast of Central America tonight", Stacy Stewart, a forecaster at the center, wrote in his outlook.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for San Andres, areas along the coast of Nicaragua, the northern coast of Honduras, and Bay Islands.

Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua announced evacuations Friday, even as the region was still reeling from the devastation inflicted by Eta. It's also the ninth storm to rapidly intensify this season, a risky phenomenon that is happening increasingly more often.

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Wind and rain were beginning to be felt Sunday night in Bilwi, a coastal Nicaraguan city where people crowded markets and hardware stores during the day in search of plastic sheeting, nails and other materials to reinforce their homes, just as they did when Hurricane Eta hit on November 3. Then it meandered across Cuba, the Florida Keys and around the Gulf of Mexico before slogging ashore again near Cedar Key, Florida, and dashing across Florida and the Carolinas.

Tropical Storm Theta, in the eastern Atlantic, was ruled a post-tropical system on Sunday, but there's a new area that may need to be watched this week. Which countries are most likely to be impacted by Iota?

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).

Unfortunately, Iota could bring locally 30 inches or more of rain to parts of Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Southern Belize. Laura and Delta tied or set records for rapid intensification.

Hurricane Iota could slam into Central America later on Monday (Nov 6) as a Category 5 storm, ripping apart homes, touching off deadly mudslides and leaving residents stranded for weeks.

It is now a category four hurricane with winds of 155mph (245km/h), the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.

Tropical Storm Eta became the first storm of the 2020 hurricane season to make landfall in Florida when it moved over the Florida Keys last Sunday.

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