Eta, latest Atlantic storm, heading towards Nicaragua, Honduras

Miami, Nov 1 (efe-epa).- Tropical Depression 29, which formed in the Caribbean on the weekend, is already Tropical Storm Eta, is strengthening as it moves west and is expected to become a hurricane before it nears the Nicaraguan and Honduran coast.

This is the first time since storms have been named according to an annual list that the name Eta has been used, meaning that the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has set a record in terms of numbers of storms.

Up to now, there had been 28 named tropical storms, of which 11 have become hurricanes, with the entire month of November still to go before the storm season officially ends.

Eta, the seventh letter of the Greek alphabet, which is used to denominate storms when all the named on the list prepared each year by the World Meteorological Organization have been used, at 1200 GMT was located 215 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica, and about 435 miles east of Cape Gracias a Dios on the border between Nicaragua and Honduras.

According to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center, the storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour and is moving at 15 mph.

Expectations are that it will continue along that path, slowing a bit on Sunday and Monday, and by Tuesday will be moving more slowly to the west-southwest.

If it maintains its current trajectory, it is expected to approach the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts on Monday night as a hurricane and make landfall somewhere along that coastline on Tuesday morning.

The NHC has issued a hurricane watch for the northeastern Honduran coast from Punta Patuca to Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.

Nicaraguan authorities issued a yellow alert as the storm approaches and the country’s navy suspended the sailing of all vessels in the Caribbean as a safety precaution.

The Salvadoran government also issued a nationwide yellow alert against the possibility of heavy rain from the storm and announced that it will increase the alert level as needed.

The Jamaican government on Sunday urged all residents of flood zones to take every possible precaution to guard lives and property ahead of the storm.

Tropical storm force winds extend out from the center of the system some 60 miles.

Eta is also expected to bring between 5-10 inches of rain, with 15 inches possible in some areas in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and the southern part of the island of Hispaniola.

In northern Honduras and Nicaragua, rainfall totals of between 10-20 inches, with up to 30 inches in certain spots, are expected.

The heavy rainfall could lead to sudden flooding, overflowing rivers and streams and mudslides across the region.

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