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Central America braces for torrential rainfall and life threatening storm surge as Hurricane Iota approaches

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Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020. 8:57 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The western eyewall of Category 5 Hurricane Iota is over Nicaragua, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reports.

The powerful hurricane is expected to make landfall in Nicaragua tonight just as the country reels from the devastation of Hurricane Eta.

Iota is forecast to bring catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Southern Belize.

The Governments of Nicaragua and Honduras have issued warnings as the hurricane nears.

As of tonight, the center of Hurricane Iota was located over the southwest Caribbean Sea about 35 miles (55km) east-southeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, and about 95 miles (155 km) south-southeast of Cabo Gracias A Dios on the Nicaragua / Honduras border.

Iota is moving toward the west near 9 mph (15 km/h), and this general motion is forecast through landfall.

After landfall, a westward to west-southwestward motion is expected.

On the forecast track, the core of Iota will make landfall within the hurricane warning area in northeastern Nicaragua within the next few hours, and dissipate over Central America on Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 160 mph (260 km/h) with higher gusts. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

Puerto Cabezas airport in Nicaragua recently reported sustained winds of 51 mph (82 km/h) with a gust to 81 mph (130 km/h).

Storm total rainfall amounts of 10 to 20 inches are possible, especially over southern Belize.

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