Packed with record-breaking winds, unleashing torrential floods, causing swollen rivers to burst their banks, flipping roofs onto streets, tearing communication and electrical cables, Hurricane Iota’s impact unleashed chaos in Central America as it was still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Eta two weeks ago.
Hurricane Iota is now considered the strongest storm to hit Nicaragua in the country’s history and has killed six people, according to the Nicaraguan government.
Four adults and two minors are dead, according to Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo.
More than 400,000 people in Nicaragua were affected by the storm as it made landfall near Haulover, Tuesday as a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 155 mph, according to the NHC.
Over 62,000 people were moved to 683 government shelters following the storm, local media reported.
In Columbia, at least two people have died and one is missing, according to Colombian President Ivan Duque.
The storm is now moving west at 12mph, NHC said. The center of the storm is expected to move over southern Honduras Tuesday, and continue weakening near El Salvador Wednesday.
As it continues to move it will dump heavy rain, in Honduras and large portions of Nicaragua, Guatemala and Belize expecting at least 10 inches and up to 30 inches through Thursday, while areas from El Salvador to Panama can expect 4 to 8, with isolated maximums of 12 inches.
“This rainfall will lead to significant, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain,” NHC said on Tuesday.
Iota will be the second major hurricane to hit the area in as many weeks. On November 3, Hurricane Eta made landfall as a Category 4 storm, causing landslides and flooding that displaced thousands and left scores of people dead or missing.
It is the 13th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which has left its mark as a historic season bringing 30 named storms
More than 3.6 million people across Central America have been affected by the storm to varying degrees, the Red Cross said earlier this week.