Hurricane Iota: Nicaragua braces for catastrophe as powerful storm makes landfall

Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua on Monday as a "catastrophic" Category 5 storm, threatening to deliver more drenching rains and fierce winds to areas devastated by a powerful storm just two weeks ago. Authorities had been rushing to evacuate thousands of people from coastal areas of Nicaragua and Honduras, in the immediate path of the maximum-level hurricane. "What's drawing closer is a bomb," Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said. The storm had already left one person dead as it swept the Colombian Caribbean island territory of Providencia, where it caused widespread damage. "This powerful hurricane Iota is already on the front line, it's already on land", said Marcio Baca, director of meteorology at the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (Ineter). US forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned of "catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge and torrential rainfall... in Central America". Authorities in Honduras are rushing to get people out of the storm's path Credit: GETTY IMAGES It was packing maximum sustained winds of 160 miles (260 kilometres) per hour with higher gusts recorded. Category 5 hurricanes destroy many homes, wreck power supplies and most of the affected area is "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the NHC said. Colonel John Fredy Sepulveda, the police chief on Providencia, said the local hospital had lost part of its roof and the territory of around 6,000 people was without power. Hundreds of residents of indigenous communities on Nicaragua's northeastern coast near the city of Bilwi were still waiting to be evacuated on Monday. "With Hurricane Eta we didn't get out, but this one is more dangerous," said Marisol Ingram, whose wooden home was badly damaged by Eta and is at risk of being swept away by Iota. Many countries in Central America are still counting the devastating costs of Hurricane Eta, which struck earlier this month Credit: GETTY IMAGES Eta killed 200 people when it made landfall in the same area as a Category 4 hurricane in early November, causing widespread flooding and landslides. The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has seen the most named storms on record, with 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes. So many, that by October, with the arrival of tropical storm Wilfred in the eastern Atlantic, meteorologists had already used every name on the season's list, causing them to move to the Greek alphabet for names, which had not been necessary since 2005. Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. Warmer seas caused by climate change are making hurricanes stronger for longer after landfall, scientists say.

Hurricane Iota: Nicaragua braces for catastrophe as powerful storm makes landfall

Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua on Monday as a "catastrophic" Category 5 storm, threatening to deliver more drenching rains and fierce winds to areas devastated by a powerful storm just two weeks ago.

Authorities had been rushing to evacuate thousands of people from coastal areas of Nicaragua and Honduras, in the immediate path of the maximum-level hurricane.

"What's drawing closer is a bomb," Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez said.

The storm had already left one person dead as it swept the Colombian Caribbean island territory of Providencia, where it caused widespread damage.

"This powerful hurricane Iota is already on the front line, it's already on land", said Marcio Baca, director of meteorology at the Nicaraguan Institute of Territorial Studies (Ineter).

US forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned of "catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge and torrential rainfall... in Central America".

Authorities in Honduras are rushing to get people out of the storm's path Credit: GETTY IMAGES

It was packing maximum sustained winds of 160 miles (260 kilometres) per hour with higher gusts recorded.

Category 5 hurricanes destroy many homes, wreck power supplies and most of the affected area is "uninhabitable for weeks or months," the NHC said.

Colonel John Fredy Sepulveda, the police chief on Providencia, said the local hospital had lost part of its roof and the territory of around 6,000 people was without power.

Hundreds of residents of indigenous communities on Nicaragua's northeastern coast near the city of Bilwi were still waiting to be evacuated on Monday.

"With Hurricane Eta we didn't get out, but this one is more dangerous," said Marisol Ingram, whose wooden home was badly damaged by Eta and is at risk of being swept away by Iota.

Many countries in Central America are still counting the devastating costs of Hurricane Eta, which struck earlier this month Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Eta killed 200 people when it made landfall in the same area as a Category 4 hurricane in early November, causing widespread flooding and landslides.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has seen the most named storms on record, with 30 named storms and 13 hurricanes.

So many, that by October, with the arrival of tropical storm Wilfred in the eastern Atlantic, meteorologists had already used every name on the season's list, causing them to move to the Greek alphabet for names, which had not been necessary since 2005.

Iota is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet.

Warmer seas caused by climate change are making hurricanes stronger for longer after landfall, scientists say.