Eta turns into a hurricane and could be a ‘major’ storm when it hits Central America

Miami Herald (November 2, 2020).- Eta strengthened into a hurricane early Monday, November 2nd, and it is forecast to get stronger in the next 24 hours, possibly turning it into a Category 3 by the time it makes landfall in Nicaragua early Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

With Eta, the 2020 hurricane season ties 2005 for most named storms in a season — 28 — and also marks the first time a storm has been named for the seventh letter in the Greek alphabet.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, Eta was moving west near 10 mph and was a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph with higher gusts, according to the hurricane center. The storm was about 140 miles east of Cabo Gracias a Dios, a cape that is on the Honduras-Nicaragua border and about 165 miles east-northeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.

“Strengthening, possibly rapid, is expected through early Tuesday, and Eta could be a major hurricane when landfall occurs by early Tuesday. Weakening will begin after the system moves inland,” forecasters wrote.

How will Hurricane Eta affect Central America?

Eta is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge, damaging winds, flash flooding and landslides across portions of Central America. Heavy rainfall is also expected, with Nicaragua and Honduras forecast to get the worst of it, with 10 to 25 inches of rain and some isolated areas seeing up to 35 inches of rain.

“This rainfall would lead to catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with landslides in areas of higher terrain of Central America. Flash flooding and river flooding would be possible across Jamaica, southeast Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti, and the Cayman Islands,” forecasters wrote.

A dangerous storm surge is also forecast to raise the water as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels along the coast of Nicaragua that is within the hurricane warning area, and 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels along the coast of Honduras tropical storm warning area.

“Since this is likely to be a very slow-moving system after it makes landfall in Central America, torrential rains and flooding will be a major threat from Eta,” forecasters wrote.

Hurricane Eta, now a Category 1, could become a Category 2 hurricane before it makes landfall in Nicaragua on Tuesday.
Hurricane Eta, now a Category 1, could become a Category 2 hurricane before it makes landfall in Nicaragua on Tuesday.

Where is Hurricane Eta going and how strong is it?

On the forecast track, Eta is expected to be a strong Category 2 hurricane, on the cusp of being a Category 3, when it make landfall somewhere on the coast of Nicaragua, which is under a hurricane warning from the Honduras-Nicaragua border to the Sandy Bay Sirpi. A hurricane watch is also in effect for the northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras-Nicaragua border.

The National Hurricane Center predicts Eta will have maximum sustained winds near 110 mph early Tuesday. To be a Category 3 hurricane, it will need maximum sustained winds to be at least 111 mph.

Once it makes landfall, Eta is expected to weaken as it moves over the mountains of Nicaragua and Honduras.

“Although some of the global models are showing a cyclone over the northwestern Caribbean later this week and into the weekend, it is not certain whether this is Eta, or a new system that could form in that area,” forecasters wrote.

The northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras-Nicaragua border is also under a tropical storm warning and a tropical storm watch is in effect from the northern coast of Honduras from west of Punta Patuca west to Punta Castilla.

Source: Miami Herald



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