Extremely dangerous Category 4 Hurricane "Eta" makes landfall in Nicaragua

Extremely dangerous Category 4 Hurricane

Hurricane "Eta" rapidly intensified into a Category 4 hurricane on Monday and Tuesday, November 2 and 3, 2020, before it made landfall in Nicaragua at around 21:00 UTC (16:00 EST) on November 3. 

  • The center of Eta is expected to move inland over northern Nicaragua through Wednesday morning, and then move across the central portions of Honduras through Thursday morning. 
  • The system is forecast to emerge over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night or Friday, November 6.
  • While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, magnitude, and location of possible impacts from wind and rainfall, interests in Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys should monitor the progress of Eta through the week, NHC warns.

Evacuation orders have been issued for coastal areas in Nicaragua and Honduras, while in Nicaragua, red alerts have been declared for the Autonomous Region of the Northern Caribbean and the Mining Triangle ahead of the landfall.

The eyewall of extremely dangerous Hurricane "Eta" is moving onshore along the coast of northeastern Nicaragua, NHC forecasters said at 18:00 UTC (13:00 EST). Life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding, and landslides are expected across portions of Central America.

At the time, the center of Eta was located about 35 km (20 miles) SSE of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 220 km/h (140 mph), making it a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Eta was moving W at 6 km/h (3 mph) and had a minimum central pressure of 940 hPa.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras/Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi.

Image credit: NOAA/GOES-16, RAMMB/CIRA

Hurricane "Eta" at 20:10 UTC on November 3, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-16, RAMMB/CIRA

Eta made landfall at around 21:00 UTC on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, just south of Puerto Cabezas (population 39 000) with maximum sustained winds of 220 km/h (140 mph). The storm was moving W at 7 km/h (5 mph) and had a minimum central pressure of 940 hPa.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 35 km (25 miles) from the center and tropical-storm-force up to 185 km (115 miles). 

A faster westward or west-northwestward motion is expected through early Thursday. A turn toward the north, and then north-northeast is forecast Thursday night and Friday. 

On the forecast track, the center of Eta is expected to move inland over northern Nicaragua through Wednesday morning, and then move across the central portions of Honduras through Thursday morning. 

The system is forecast to emerge over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night or Friday, November 6.

Hurricane "Eta" at 20:40 UTC on November 3, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-16, RAMMB/CIRA

Catastrophic wind damage is expected during the next few hours as Eta's eyewall moves onshore along the northeastern coast of Nicaragua.

A catastrophic and life-threatening storm surge, along with destructive waves, are expected along portions of the northeastern coast of Nicaragua near and to the north of where the center has crossed the coast. 

Water levels could reach as high as 4.2 to 6.4 m (14 to 21 feet) above normal tide levels in some parts of the hurricane warning area.

Through Friday evening, heavy rainfall from Eta will lead to catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding across portions of Central America, along with landslides in areas of higher terrain.

Flash and river flooding is also possible across Jamaica, southeast Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti, and the Cayman Islands.

Eta is forecast to regain tropical storm strength as it moves across portions of Cuba and approaches southern Florida this weekend.

While it is too soon to determine the exact timing, magnitude, and location of possible impacts from wind and rainfall, interests in Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys should monitor the progress of Eta through the week.

Multimedia

Forecast models

Update

According to media reports on November 4, 2 people died in Nicaragua's Bonanza Municipality after they were buried in a landslide.

In Honduras, a 13-year-old girl was killed when a mudslide caused her home to collapse in the village of Carmen. A 15-year-old boy drowned in Sulaco while trying to cross a rain-swollen river. 

One person was killed in Guatemala.

Featured image: Hurricane "Eta" at 21:00 UTC on November 3, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA

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