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At least 150 killed after Eta dumps extremely heavy rain on Guatemala, more than 170 across Central America


At least 150 people have been killed in Guatemala after heavy rain dumped by Tropical Cyclone "Eta" caused floods and landslides. As of Saturday, November 7, Eta is blamed for the deaths of more than 170 people across Central America.

According to the Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei, more than 100 people have been killed in the village of Queja near the city of San Cristobal Verapaz after a hillside collapse buried ~150 homes under a thick layer of mud.

In a press conference on Thursday, November 5, Giammattei said a month's worth of rain had fallen on parts of the country in less than 12 hours.

On November 6, Giammattei said Eta is estimated to have claimed 150 lives in Guatemala alone. The number includes 100 people who went missing in Queja.

By November 7, Eta claimed at least 20 lives in other Central American countries, including 11 in Honduras, and 2 each in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama. At least 8 other people in Panama are missing.

60 fishermen who went missing on Tuesday, November 3, were rescued from the cays they took shelter on.

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Eta made landfall at around 21:00 UTC on Tuesday, November 3, 2020, just south of Puerto Cabezas (population 39 000), Nicaragua with maximum sustained winds of 220 km/h (140 mph) — Category 4 hurricane.

It weakened to a tropical depression after landfall but continued dumping very heavy rain, damaging homes, roads and bridges across the region.

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

At 09:00 UTC on November 6, the center of Tropical Depression "Eta" was located about 180 km (110 miles) NNW of La Ceiba, Honduras. It had maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h (35 mph) and was moving N at 13 km/h (8 mph).

Heavy rains and life-threatening flooding continue over portions of Central America.

A turn toward the northeast is expected later today, with this motion continuing through early Sunday.

On the forecast track, the center of Eta will move across the northwestern Caribbean Sea today, approach the Cayman Islands Saturday, November 7 and be near Cuba Saturday night and Sunday, November 8.

Through Monday morning, 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, NHC forecasters warned.

Flash and river flooding is also possible across Jamaica, southeast Mexico, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba.

Although the details of the future track and intensity of Eta are still uncertain, there is an increasing risk of impacts from wind and rainfall in portions of the Cayman Islands, Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys and the northwestern Bahamas this weekend and early next week.

Tropical Depression "Eta" at 14:00 UTC on November 5, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA

Forecast models

Featured image: Tropical Depression "Eta" at 14:00 UTC on November 5, 2020. Credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA


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