Iota threatens 2nd tropical strike for Nicaragua, Honduras

International

A man walks through a flooded road in Okonwas, Nicaragua, Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2020. Eta weakened from the Category 4 hurricane to a tropical storm after lashing Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast for much of Tuesday, its floodwaters isolating already remote communities and setting off deadly landslides. (AP Photo/Carlos Herrera)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Tropical Storm Iota was brewing in the Caribbean Sea on Saturday, threatening a second tropical strike for Nicaragua and Honduras, countries recently clobbered by a Category 4 Hurricane Eta.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Iota could bring dangerous wind, storm surge and as much as 30 inches of rainfall to the two Central American countries, approaching their coasts as early as Monday.

On Saturday night the storm was about 375 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica, and had maximum sustained winds of 60 mph. Iota was moving to the west-southwest at 7 mph.

The Caribbean island of Providencia was under a hurricane warning and parts of Nicaragua and Honduras were under hurricane watches.

Iota could wreak more havoc in a region where people are still grappling with the aftermath of Eta. That system hit Nicaragua last week as a Category 4 hurricane, killing at least 120 people as torrential rains brought flash floods and landslides to parts of Central America and Mexico. Then it meandered across Cuba, the Florida Keys and around the Gulf of Mexico before slogging ashore again near Cedar Key, Florida, and dashing across Florida and the Carolinas.

Iota is already a record-setting system, being the 30th named storm of this year’s extraordinarily busy Atlantic hurricane season. Such activity has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger and more destructive storms.

Eta was the 28th named storm of this year’s hurricane season, tying the 2005 record for named storms. Theta, the 29th, was weakening over the far eastern Atlantic Ocean. It was expected to become a remnant low by Sunday morning, forecasters said.

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