Tuesday 1 December, 2020

Iota nears major hurricane status

Photo: US National Hurricane Centre

Photo: US National Hurricane Centre

Hurricane Iota is packing winds that are near 90 mph (150 km/h), which is just short of the strength needed to be classified as a major category three hurricane. 

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Iota’s hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from its centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 115 miles (185 km).

Rapid strengthening is expected to take place during the next 36 hour, and Iota is forecast to be an extremely dangerous category four hurricane when it approaches Central America.

(Photo: US National Hurricane Centre)

A Hurricane Warning continues for Colombia’s Providencia, the coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras / Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi and the coast of northeastern Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras / Nicaragua border.

A life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds along the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras. 

Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

(Photo: US National Hurricane Centre)

A Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning continues for Colombia’s San Andres Island.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to begin on the island of San Andres this evening with hurricane conditions possible there early Monday.

A Tropical Storm Warning continues for the coast of Nicaragua from south of Sandy Bay Sirpi to Bluefields and the northern coast of Honduras from west of Punta Patuca to Punta Castilla. Tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area of Nicaragua by late Monday and in the warning area of Honduras by Monday night.

Iota is expected to produce the following rainfall accumulations through Friday morning:

 Honduras, northern Nicaragua, Guatemala, southern Belize: eight to 16 inches (200 to 400 mm). Isolated maximum totals of 20-30 inches (500 to 750 mm) will be possible, especially from northeast Nicaragua into northern Honduras.

- Costa Rica and Panama: Four to eight inches (100 to 200 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 12 inches (300 mm).

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

- El Salvador and southern Nicaragua: three to five inches (75 to 125 mm), with isolated maximum totals of 10 inches (250 mm).

- Northern Colombia:  An additional one to three inches.

At 10am EST, the centre of Hurricane Iota was located over the southwest Caribbean Sea about 195 miles (315 km) east of Isla De Providencia, Columbia, and about 335 miles (540 km) east-southeast of Cabo Gracias A Dios on the Nicaragua / Honduras border.

Iota is moving toward the west-northwest near nine mph (15 km/h).

A westward to west-north-westward motion is expected during the next day or so until landfall occurs.

After landfall, a westward to west-south-westward motion is forecast. 

On the forecast track, the core of Iota will move across the south-western Caribbean Sea today, pass near or just north of Providencia island on Monday, and approach the coasts of northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras within the hurricane warning area late

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