Sunday 29 November, 2020

NHC: Iota could produce catastrophic flash floods Central America

Photo: US National Hurricane Centre.

Photo: US National Hurricane Centre.

The hurricane warning for Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras was downgraded to a tropical storm warning as Hurricane Iota continues to weaken.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said strong winds are occurring near the centre of Iota and these winds will spread farther inland across northern Nicaragua during the next several hours.

At 9am CST, the centre of Hurricane Iota was located inland about 135 miles (220 km) east of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Iota is moving toward the west near 12 mph (19 km/h).  The hurricane will move farther inland across northern Nicaragua today and move across southern Honduras tonight before dissipating near El Salvador early Wednesday.

(Photo: US National Hurricane Centre)

Iota’s maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts. 

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km).

Iota should weaken to a tropical storm this afternoon.

Iota is expected to produce the following rainfall accumulations through Thursday:

  • Honduras, northern Nicaragua, southeast and central Guatemala and southern Belize: 10 to 20 inches (250 to 500 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 30 inches (750 mm).
  • El Salvador and Panama: four to eight inches (100 to 200 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches (300 mm).
  • Southern Nicaragua and Costa Rica: three to five inches (75 to 125 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches (250 mm).

This rainfall will lead to significant, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain.

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