FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Hurricane Iota rapidly strengthened to Category 5 Monday morning and it is expected to make landfall in Central America Monday night.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Iota has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph and it is forecast to be a catastrophic category 5 hurricane as it makes landfall along the coast of Nicaragua.
#Iota has become a category 5 hurricane and is forecast to bring catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall to Central America. https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/w6oof46Ley
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) November 16, 2020
This is the same region that was devastated by Hurricane Eta two weeks ago.
Iota is expected to produce 10 to 20 inches of rainfall with isolated totals of up to 30 inches for Honduras, northern Nicaragua and parts of Guatemala and Belize.
According to the NHC, heavy rainfall from Iota will likely lead to life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding across portions of Central America.
Flooding and mudslides in Honduras and Nicaragua could be exacerbated by Hurricane Eta’s recent effects there, resulting in significant to potentially catastrophic impacts.
Catastrophic situation unfolding for Nicaragua. Extreme storm surge of 15-20 ft, destructive winds and up to 30 inches of rainfall with #Iota.
All exacerbated by making landfall in almost the exact same location as cat 4 Hurricane Eta <2 weeks ago. pic.twitter.com/OP4NnTRTGy
— National Weather Service (@NWS) November 16, 2020
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.
Catastrophic wind damage is expected where Iota's eyewall moves onshore within the Hurricane Warning area in Nicaragua Monday night with tropical storm conditions expected by Monday afternoon.
Iota is forecast to make landfall in nearly the same area as Eta on November 3, 2020.
Tonight, a Category 5 hurricane will be making landfall in nearly the same location a Category 4 did just two weeks ago. We're LIVE as Central America braces for another round of devastation. pic.twitter.com/gl8CvSEODE
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) November 16, 2020
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane has been historic.
This is the first time the Greek alphabet Iota has been used and it is the 13th named hurricane of the season.
— Philip Klotzbach (@philklotzbach) November 16, 2020
Iota is also the first Greek alphabet named storm to become a Category 5 hurricane.
It is also the latest Category 5 hurricane on record.
The previous record was the Cuba Hurricane of 1932 on November 8.
There have been a total of 30 named storms which is also the most in a season.
Hurricane season ends on November 30.