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Powerful Category 5 Hurricane Iota headed for Central America

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Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020. 9:22 am CST.

By BBN Staff: Powerful Category 5 Hurricane Iota continues to move west toward Nicaragua and Honduras and is expected to make landfall tonight.

As of this morning, the center of Hurricane Iota was located over the southwest Caribbean Sea about 40 miles (65 km) west of Isla De Providencia, Columbia, and about 100 miles (160 km) 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.

Forecasters say that the core of Iota will make landfall within the hurricane warning area in northeastern Nicaragua tonight, and will dissipate over central America by Wednesday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 160 mph (260 km/h) with higher gusts – a catastrophic category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 150 miles (240 km).

Hurricane warnings have been issued for portions of Nicaragua and Honduras.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) urges that preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.

Hurricane conditions are likely occurring on the island of Providencia, with tropical storm conditions expected through this afternoon.

Catastrophic wind damage is expected where Iota’s eyewall moves onshore within the Hurricane Warning area in Nicaragua tonight with tropical storm conditions expected by this afternoon.

A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 15 to 20 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.

Iota is expected to produce heavy rainfall across southern Belize from 10 to 20 inches.

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