Iota moved up to a category 4 hurricane early Monday morning. It is the 30th named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season. Authorities warned Iota would likely come ashore over areas where Eta’s torrential rains saturated the soil. This could make it susceptible to new landslides and floods. All of Honduras was on alert as evacuations began before the weekend. By Sunday evening, 63,500 people were reported to be in 379 shelters in the northern coastal region.
Eta already caused a lot of damage. It hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane and killed at least 120 people. Torrential rainfalls caused floods and mudslides in parts of Central America and Mexico.
Iota was forecasted to cause 8 to 16 inches (200-400 millimeters) of rain in northern Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and southern Belize. As hurricane Iota is expected, there could be up to 30 inches of rain in isolated spots. According to the hurricane center, Costa Rica and Panama could also experience heavy rain and possible flooding.
A Familiar Predicament
The situation was strikingly familiar to residents in Central America. Marina Rodriguez is a resident whose home was washed away by hurricane Eta. “I am afraid of the sea level,” Ms. Rodriguez said.
“You can see the water coming up and up every minute, so I guess we will have to evacuate.” Forecasters warned that damage from hurricane Iota could add to the destruction caused by hurricane Eta in Central America. Hurricane Iota expected.
According to reports, more than 60 people died throughout Central America from hurricane Eta. In Guatemala, rescuers feared that more than 100 people had been killed in the village of Queja when the storm chopped off a portion of a mountain slope.
Many people in the region were rendered homeless after structures were damaged or destroyed. “Shelter is going to be a problem,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center.
Sadam Vinicius, a father of three, decided to stay with his family at their home near the coast. He was afraid of losing his roof and decided to save it by tying it up with ropes.
“We have not received any aid from the government yet,” Mr. Vinicius said. “I’m afraid of losing my roof.”
Hurricane Iota and the Role of Climate Change
Scientists have discovered climate change affects how hurricanes form and strengthen. They found out that rising ocean temperatures can cause storms to weaken more slowly and remain destructive for a longer period. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the effect of the hurricane has “a lot of that has to do with climate change.”
This is the first time the Atlantic had two major hurricanes with winds exceeding 110 mph in November. Officially, the hurricane season lasts until the end of the month.