Hurricane Iota Breaks Records as It Slams Nicaragua
Hurricane Iota made landfall along the coast of northeastern Nicaragua at 10:40 p.m. Monday night as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm.
The landfall location was just 15 miles away from where the devastating Hurricane Eta made landfall 13 days earlier, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). It was also the most powerful storm to make landfall in Nicaragua in November, Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach noted on Twitter, breaking the record set by Eta.
"This is double destruction," Nicaraguan Business owner Adán Artola Schultz told The Associated Press. "This is coming in with fury."
Artola Schultz lives in Puerto Cabezas, or Bilwi, a Nicaraguan city about 30 miles from where the storm made landfall. He said he watched the wind tear a metal roof off of a two-story home.
Bilwi university student Jason Bermúdez also reported destruction.
"This hurricane is definitely worse" than Eta, Bermúdez told The Associated Press. "There are already a lot of houses that lost their roofs, fences and fruit trees that got knocked down. We will never forget this year."
Before it even made landfall, the storm blew a metal roof off of a hospital in Bilwi where victims of Hurricane Eta were being treated, The New York Times reported. Most of the city has been without power since 3 p.m. Monday.
Iota is the 30th named storm of the record-breaking 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, the most of any season. It is also the ninth storm this season to rapidly intensify, a phenomenon linked to the climate crisis, The Associated Press reported.
Iota strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane but weakened before coming ashore. It was the latest Category 5 storm on record, Klotzbach said.
While it was still a Category 5 storm, Iota lashed the Columbian islands of San Andres and Providencia, CNN reported.
"It's the first time that a Category 5 Hurricane has reached our territory since records began," Colombia President Ivan Duque told reporters. "We are facing an issue with characteristics never before witnessed by our country."
At least one person died on Providencia and 90 percent of the island's infrastructure has been impacted. Both islands also lost electricity, The New York Times reported. The Colombian city of Cartagena also experienced flooding.
Iota has now weakened into a tropical storm with winds reaching 75 miles per hour, according to a 9 a.m. update from the NHC. It is currently located about 85 miles west of Bilwi and heading further inland across northern Nicaragua today and over southern Honduras tonight.
The storm is still forecast to inundate the region with a dangerous amount of rain; 10 to 20 inches is projected over northern Nicaragua, Honduras, southeast and central Guatemala and southern Belize. Some places could see up to 30 inches of rain. That rain could produce life-threatening flooding, made worse by ground that is still wet from Hurricane Eta.
"Flooding and mudslides across portions of Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala could be exacerbated by Hurricane Eta's recent effects there, resulting in significant to potentially catastrophic impacts," the NHC warned.
Hurricane Iota is expected to dissipate over Central America in the next 48 hours.
- Tropical Storm Eta Hits Florida Keys; Central American Death Toll ... ›
- Iota Becomes Second Major Hurricane to Threaten Central America ... ›
By Monir Ghaedi
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep most of Europe on pause, the EU aims for a breakthrough in its space program. The continent is seeking more than just a self-sufficient space industry competitive with China and the U.S.; the industry must also fit into the European Green Deal.
European satellites continue to provide data on climate change.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
In 2018, a team of researchers went to West Africa's Nimba Mountains in search of one critically endangered species of bat. Along the way, they ended up discovering another.
- Eek! Bat Populations Are Shrinking. Here Are A Few Ways to Help ... ›
- First Bat Removed From U.S. Endangered Species List Helps ... ›
- What We've Lost: The Species Declared Extinct in 2020 - EcoWatch ›
- Construction Begins on Keystone XL Pipeline in Montana - EcoWatch ›
- Trump Approves Keystone XL Pipeline, Groups Vow 'The Fight Is ... ›
- Keystone XL Pipeline Construction to Forge Ahead During ... ›
By Jim Palardy
As 2021 dawns, people, ecosystems, and wildlife worldwide are facing a panoply of environmental issues. In an effort to help experts and policymakers determine where they might focus research, a panel of 25 scientists and practitioners — including me — from around the globe held discussions in the fall to identify emerging issues that deserve increased attention.
Ask a Scientist: What Should the Biden Administration and Congress Do to Address the Climate Crisis?
By Elliott Negin
What a difference an election makes. Thanks to the Biden-Harris victory in November, the next administration is poised to make a 180-degree turn to again address the climate crisis.
- Biden Reaffirms Commitment to Rejoining Paris Agreement ... ›
- Joe Biden Appoints Climate Crisis Team - EcoWatch ›
- Biden Plans to Fight Climate Change in a New Way - EcoWatch ›