Tyler Mulden, a CNN meteorologist, said Hurricane Iota – the thirteenth hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season – is expected to continue heading west and making landfall somewhere in Central America, possibly near the Honduran-Nicaraguan border by late From Monday or early Tuesday.
The storm is expected to be at or near major hurricane strength before descending across Central America, according to the NHC. A major hurricane is a hurricane with winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
Nicaragua issued a hurricane warning from Sandy Bay Serpe to the border with Honduras, and Honduras issued a hurricane warning from the Nicaraguan border to Ponta Batuca.
Parts of these two countries can receive heavy rainfall from 2 to 3 feet, as well as life-threatening storms.
Besides damaging winds, Iota could fall from 8 to 16 inches of rain over Honduras, northern Nicaragua, eastern Guatemala and southern Belize until Thursday, the National Health Commission said, unwelcome news for an area hit by Hurricane ETA last week.
The commission said rainfall in Costa Rica, Panama and northern Colombia could reach 4 to 8 inches through Thursday, while El Salvador and southern Nicaragua could reach 2 to 4 inches in the same period.
On Saturday, the Colombian government issued a tropical storm warning for the islands of San Andres and Providencia.
The national commission said the downpour (from Iota) would lead to major life-threatening flash floods and floods in rivers, as well as landslides in areas with higher terrain.
Central America was devastated by Hurricane ETA
Even before the storm, Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala had poor public health systems that were fighting against Covid-19.
Ray Sanchez, Matt Rivers, Natalie Gallon and Taylor Ward of CNN contributed to this report.