Dangerous Hurricane Iota Hits Nicaragua

Dangerous Hurricane Iota hit Nicaragua with powerful winds and heavy rain on Monday night. At 10:00 p.m. EST on Monday the center of Hurricane Iota was located at latitude 13.6°N and longitude 83.4°W which put it about 30 miles (50 km) south of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. Iota was moving toward the west at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 155 m.p.h. (250 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 185 m.p.h. (300 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 920 mb.

A Hurricane Warning was in effect for the portion of the coast from Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua to Punta Patuca, Honduras. Tropical Storm Warnings were in effect for the portions of the coast from Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua and from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Guatemala border including the Bay Islands. Tropical Storm Warnings were also in effect for San Andres and Providencia Island.

Hurricane Iota was a powerful hurricane when it made landfall on the coast of Nicaragua just to the south of Puerto Cabezas. Iota was at Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. Winds to hurricane force extended out 45 miles (75 km) from the center of circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 175 miles (280 km) from the center, The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) for Hurricane Iota was 33.3. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 16.3 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 49.6. Iota was capable of causing regional significant damage.

Hurricane Iota made landfall on the same portion of the coast of Nicaragua devastated by Hurricane Eta two weeks ago. Iota will compound the damage caused by Eta. Strong winds will cause additional damage and they will destroy temporary shelters erected after Hurricane Eta. The winds blowing water toward the coast could cause a storm surge of up to 20 feet (6 meters) south of Puerto Cabezas.

Hurricane Iota will continue to move toward the west during the next 48 hours. On its anticipated track the center of Iota will move across northern Nicaragua, southern Honduras and El Salvador. The winds around Hurricane Iota will weaken steadily as it moves inland. Iota will drop heavy rain over Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. The heavy rain will cause flash floods and some floods will occur in the same locations flooded by Hurricane Eta.

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