(CNN) — Storm Iota quickly strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane early Monday morning and is expected to hit a region of Central America already devastated by another storm.
Iota is forecast to make landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Monday night or early Tuesday. It will be the second major hurricane to hit the region in the last two weeks. On November 3, the Hurricane Eta made landfall as category 4, causing landslides and floods that left dozens of people dead or missing.
Iota, what do I know formed on Friday at seaIt was 310 kilometers east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the border between Nicaragua and Honduras with maximum sustained winds of 225 km / h at 1:40 am (Miami time) on Monday, the US National Hurricane Center said. It is expected to continue to strengthen rapidly over the next few hours.
Iota is forecast to make landfall in Central America
Iota, the thirteenth hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, is also forecast to continue westward and make landfall somewhere in Central America, potentially near the Honduras-Nicaragua border by Monday night or Tuesday. early, said CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin.
Nicaragua issued a hurricane warning from Sandy Bay Sirpi to the border with Honduras, and Honduras issued a hurricane warning from the border of Nicaragua to Punta Patuca.
Parts of those two countries could receive a total of torrential rains of 60 to 91 centimeters, along with a potentially deadly storm surge of 3 to 4.5 meters.
In addition to generating damaging winds, Iota could drop 20 to 40 centimeters of rain in Honduras, northern Nicaragua, eastern Guatemala and southern Belize through Thursday, the NHC said, unwanted news for a battered region. by Hurricane Eta in early November.
Costa Rica, Panama and northern Colombia could receive 10 to 20 centimeters of rain through Thursday, while El Salvador and southern Nicaragua could receive 5 to 10 centimeters in the same period, the NHC said.
The Colombian government issued a hurricane warning for Providencia Island and San Andrés Island is under a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning.
“This rain (from Iota) would lead to major and life-threatening flash floods and river flooding, along with landslides in areas of higher ground,” the NHC noted.
Iota is the 30th named storm in the Atlantic this year, the largest amount in a hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Central America devastated by Hurricane Eta
Eta crossed into northern Nicaragua on November 3 as a Category 4 hurricane, hitting that country and Honduras, Guatemala and Belize for days with heavy rains.
The full extent of Eta’s damage probably won’t be known for a while. But the mighty storm, combined with the coronavirus pandemic, can be remembered as one of the worst natural disasters to hit the region.
More than 3.6 million people in Central America have been affected by the storm to varying degrees, said the Red Cross earlier this week.
Even before the storm, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala had poor public health systems fighting COVID-19.
With thousands in shelters and social distancing difficult to achieve, many fear the disease will spread. The hospitals there they also face the burden at this time to combat other storm- and flood-related diseases, from dengue to cholera and yellow fever.
CNN’s Haley Brink, Ray Sanchez, Matt Rivers, Natalie Gallón, Alaa Elassar and Taylor Ward contributed to this report.