Disasters & Accidents

Hurricane Eta strengthens to Category 4 as it nears Nicaragua

Managua, Nov 2 (efe-epa).- Nicaragua declared a red alert on the stretch of Caribbean coast where Category 4 Hurricane Eta is expected to make landfall as early as Monday night.

The storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 215km/h (130mph), is forecast to come ashore between the Honduran-Nicaraguan border and Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest bulletin.

“Life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides expected across portions of Central America,” the Miami-based NHC said.

“We are practically in the stage of impact,” Nicaraguan Civil Defense director Rogelio Flores said after the disaster management agency, Sinapred, evacuated more than 1,600 people from the highest-risk areas, including offshore islands.

Under red alert conditions, residents are supposed to shelter in a safe place and heed instructions from authorities.

Flores said that additional personnel had been sent to military installations in northeastern Nicaragua to assist in dealing with the storm and its aftermath.

Coastal areas of Honduras expected to experience tropical storm conditions were likewise placed on maximum alert by the government in Tegucigalpa, which also announced plans to airlift supplies to the affected region.

At 21.00 GMT Monday, Eta was located 130km (80mi) from Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, moving to the west-southwest at 15km/h (9mph), according to the NHC, which said that the storm’s center will move inland over northern Nicaragua before moving across central portions of Honduras on Thursday.

The hurricane is likely to drop 380-635mm (15-25in) of rain on Nicaragua and Honduras, with accumulations of to 890mm (35in) in some spots, the NHC said, predicting a storm surge in the range of 3.6-5.5m (12-18ft) above normal levels in the impact zone on the Nicaraguan coast.

The record-tying 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season exploded over the 24 hours ending 18.00 GMT Monday, as the wind speed increased from 80km/h (50mph) to 193km/h (120mph).

Eta is also the season’s 12th hurricane, more than all but two other seasons since records started being kept. EFE wpr-gr/dr

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