The winds of God‘s wrath prepares to pound Florida: Jeremiah 23

Hurricane center expects system east of Florida to gain subtropical traits later this week



NOV 25, 2020 AT 3:42 PM

Despite the near end of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center is staying vigilant in monitoring a low-pressure area with odds of becoming the 31st named storm of the year toward the end of the week.

The end of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is just six days away but one more name could be added to the record-setting list as the National Hurricane Center increases the odds for the development of a system just east of Florida.

A broad area of low pressure is several hundred miles east-southeast of Bermuda and is shedding off disorganized showers, along with gale-force winds, to the east of its center, the NHC said in its 1 p.m. update.

The system has a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm in the next two days, but the NHC decreased its five-day forecast to a 20% chance of developing. The low’s odds remain minimum due to strong upper-level winds limiting the development of the system Monday.

The winds of God‘s wrath destroys Somalia: Jeremiah 23

Somalia’s Strongest Tropical Cyclone Ever Recorded Could Drop 2 Years’ Rain In 2 Days

Matthew S. Schwartz

November 22, 20205:25 PM ET

The strongest tropical cyclone ever measured in the northern Indian Ocean has made landfall in eastern Africa, where it is poised to drop two years’ worth of rain in the next two days.

Tropical Cyclone Gati made landfall in Somalia on Sunday with sustained winds of around 105 mph. It’s the first recorded instance of a hurricane-strength system hitting the country. At one point before landfall, Gati’s winds were measured at 115 mph.

Gati is the strongest tropical cyclone that has been recorded in this region of the globe; further south than any category 3-equivalent cyclone in the North Indian Ocean,” said Sam Lillo, a researcher with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Physical Sciences Laboratory.

Its intensification from about 40 mph to 115 mph was “the largest 12-hour increase on record for a tropical cyclone in the Indian Ocean,” Lillo added.

One reason Gati intensified so quickly is because the size of the cyclone itself is quite small, Lillo said. The warm water in the area coupled with low wind shear also contributed to the rapid strengthening, Accuweather reported.

“With climate change we’re seeing warmer ocean temperatures and a more moist atmosphere that’s leading to a greater chance of rapid intensification for tropical cyclones like Gati,” meteorologist and climate journalist Eric Holthaus told NPR. “Gati’s strength is part of that broader global pattern of stronger storms.”

And those storms are leading to a lot more rain. Northern Somalia usually gets about 4 inches of rain per year; data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show Gati could bring 8 inches over the next two days — “two years worth of rainfall in just two days,” Holthaus said. Some isolated areas could see even more than that.

“The system may impact Socotra, Somalia, Yemen and western Oman from [Sunday] night into Monday and potentially Tuesday, with the main threat being heavy rain and flash flooding,” said AccuWeather’s lead international meteorologist, Jason Nicholls, told the site.

A United Nations alert warned the storm posed an immediate threat to the marine shipping lane that links Somalia and the Gulf states.

Gati is much more intense than the previous strongest storm to hit Somalia — a 2018 cyclone that brought winds of 60 mph.

More winds of God’s Wrath to hit Florida: Jeremiah 23

Hurricane center eyes system east of Florida with odds of becoming a tropical storm



NOV 23, 2020 AT 1:10 PM

The National Hurricane Center isn’t taking it easy just because the end of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season is around the corner as another tropical system emerged just east of Florida and has low odds of developing.

A broad area of low pressure is about a hundred miles northeast of the Bahamas and is shedding off disorganized showers to the northeast and east of its center, the NHC said in its 1 p.m. update.

The system has a 10% chance of becoming a tropical depression or a tropical storm in the next two days, and a 20% chance of doing so in the next five days. The low’s odds remain minimum due to strong upper-level winds limiting development of the system Monday.

The low is later expected to merge with a cold front on Tuesday. However, the low will have another opportunity to gain subtropical characteristics if it can separate from the front while slowly moving over the central Atlantic.

If the system does become a tropical storm it will become the the 31st named storm of the year and receive the Greek letter Kappa as its name.

The final day of the Atlantic hurricane season is next Monday, Nov. 30.

Winds of God’s wrath to threaten Florida: Jeremiah 23

Tropical disturbance reemerges northeast of the Caribbean Sea



NOV 22, 2020 AT 2:35 PM

With just a little more than a week left in hurricane season, the National Hurricane Center is once again monitoring an area of low pressure that has resurfaced in the Atlantic basin.

The disturbance, located to the northeast of the Caribbean on Sunday, has a 20% chance of developing in the next five days, likely somewhere between the Bahamas and Bermuda, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is expected to move in a northeastward direction.

The 2020 hurricane season became the busiest in recorded history when Tropical Storm Theta formed on Nov. 9. Only 2005 has had more hurricanes on record, at 15, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said.

This hurricane season has been marked by storms — such as Hannah, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma, Delta and Zeta — that have “rapidly intensified,” meaning a gain of at least 35 mph in wind speed in a 24-hour period. Iota, the most recent named storm, doubled that mark in the overnight hours of Nov. 15, when it intensified from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 4. It dissipated over western El Salvador last week.

Meanwhile, a study on hurricanes in the North Atlantic was published this month in the scientific journal Nature.

The study found that these hurricanes are “staying stronger after making landfall, which suggests these storms could cause greater destruction in areas farther from the coast in the future,” according to AccuWeather.

The next named storm would be Kappa.

At least 26 dead in Central America from the winds of God’s wrath: Jeremiah 23

At least 26 dead in Central America from powerful Hurricane Iota – ABC News

Iota made landfall Monday night in Nicaragua.

Honduran authorities transfer residents affected by IotaThe residents affected by Hurricane Iota were evacuated to a shelter in the Olympic village in Tegucigalpa.Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters

At least 26 people are dead in the wake of powerful Hurricane Iota, which is still delivering heavy rain and winds to Central America.

Iota made landfall Monday night in Nicaragua, and though the storm is dissipating, the threat for heavy rain continues. The rainfall is expected to cause mudslides and life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding.

In Nicaragua, at least 16 people died, including 12 of whom died in a landslide in Matagalpa, state-run Radio Nicaragua reported. Vice President Rosario Murillo also said two children died while trying to cross a river on Monday.

In Bilwi, Nicaragua, there are “falling trees, electricity poles, roofs of houses that were blown up in the air and a hotel that lost its entire roof,” SINAPRED’s Director Guillermo González said.

More than 114,000 homes have no power and over 47,000 are without water, the government said.

In Honduras, at least five people have died and over 61,000 people are living in shelters, according to the Permanent Contingency Commission of Honduras (COPECO).

In Colombia, at least two are dead, while six others are wounded and one person is missing, said President Iván Duque.

Residents remove debris from their houses destroyed by the passing of Hurricane Iota, in Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, Nov. 18, 2020.Oswaldo Rivas/Reuters

One woman was killed in Panama, officials said. One person has died in Guatemala and another person died in El Salvador, government officials said.

In Honduras, the government has issued a red alert throughout the country and ordered the closure of main highways through Wednesday.

Iota made landfall about 15 miles from where Hurricane Eta made landfall as a Category 4 just 13 days earlier.

Aid workers in Central America were still discovering the extent of damage from Eta when Iota hit, said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Iota is now the strongest hurricane to hit Nicaragua in November on record.

“We’re running out of superlatives for this Atlantic hurricane season. It’s record breaking in every sense of the word. We are currently, with Iota, on the 30th named tropical storm,” Clare Nullis, spokesperson for the World Meteorological Organization, said at a U.N. news briefing in Geneva.

Meanwhile, in the U.S., a storm system in the West helped to spread wildfire in Reno, Nevada, where more than a dozen homes were damaged yesterday.

Thankfully, the forward progress of the fire has been stopped while winds gusted 50 to 60 mph in the Reno area yesterday and, with dry conditions, it was easy for the fire to spread.

The highest wind gust on Tuesday was in Nevada of up to 110 mph in the mountains.

On Wednesday, there are wind, snow and fire alerts that have been issued from California to Missouri.

Gusty dry winds are expected again for the West and into the Plains.

But, at the same time the storm that is bringing all the wind, it is also dumping feet of snow in California’s Sierra Nevada Range and rain will continue from northern California to Oregon and Washington.

But, at the same time the storm that is bringing all the wind, it is also dumping feet of snow in California’s Sierra Nevada Range and rain will continue from northern California to Oregon and Washington.ABC News

In the East, the coldest air of the season is here with freeze warnings and a frost advisory from Alabama to the Carolinas and Virginia where temperatures in the Southeast are at or below freezing for the first time this year.

In the Northeast, New York City is under a freeze warnings as temperatures drop to freezing in the five boroughs where wind chills are down into the 20s and even the teens.

In the Northeast, New York City is under a freeze warnings as temperatures drop to freezing in the five boroughs where wind chills are down into the 20s and even the teens.ABC News

This chilly, winter-like air mass will not last too long in the Northeast or Midwest and, by tomorrow and into Friday, temperatures are expected to quickly rebound into the 60s and even the 70s for some.

The Winds of God’s Wrath Continues: Jeremiah 23

There’s still no clear end to the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season

Forecasters continue to monitor systems for possible development

Hurricane Season 2020 just won’t quit. It’s shattered records with the most named systems ever observed in the Atlantic, devastated Central America and has left few coastal areas in the eastern U.S. untouched.

Just when it looked like things might simmer, Iota spontaneously swirled as a Category 5 a week and a half before Thanksgiving.

Hurricanes Eta and Iota brought disaster to Central America. Officials can’t retire their names.

On paper, hurricane season ends on Nov. 30, but this season has been far from by-the-books. And looking ahead, it appears the atmosphere may try to get one final word in.

Already, meteorologists are tracking two more “areas to watch” that could be problematic, including near hard-hit Central America. Neither system has a high chance to develop, but their mere presence show that the ocean is not quite done yet.

There may also be a period of conditions mildly conducive to tropical development in the southern Caribbean during the first week or two in December, though with winter coming, we are running out the clock.

Two areas to watch

Satellite imagery showing the remnants of Iota moving into the Pacific and another disturbance in the central Caribbean on Wednesday. (Tropical Tidbits)

On Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami outlined two areas that bear watching for possible tropical development but gave each only a 20 percent chance of becoming a named storm. One system was nestled in the southwest Caribbean, while the other occupied the ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda.

In the Caribbean, a strip of thunderstorm activity stretched from the shores of northern Venezuela to just south of Hispaniola.

This area of disturbed weather could bring heavy rainfall to portions of Nicaragua, and especially Costa Rica and Panama. Some places, especially in the higher terrain of western Costa Rica and Panama, could see 4 to 8 inches of rain from Friday into Saturday, which could spark flooding. Isolated one-foot totals can’t be ruled out.

In Nicaragua, the rains arrive Saturday into Sunday, with moist flow even yielding sporadic downpours in Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. Rainfall amounts will be highly variable, but renewed flooding is possible in areas that have already seen 30 to 50 inches or more from Hurricanes Eta and Iota.

Hurricane Iota explosively intensified to Category 5 as it bore down on Nicaragua

Meanwhile, a region of low pressure may form between the Bahamas and Bermuda into early next week in advance of an approaching mid-level disturbance over the southern United States. The system will begin as a typical nondescript patch of ocean storminess, but could acquire some subtropical or tropical characteristics as it is swept northeast.

A period of showery and breezy weather is likely Monday into Tuesday in Bermuda as the system passes nearby; it will be simultaneously energized by an atmospheric disturbance. It’s improbable that the system “closes off” into a self-contained storm that earns a name. But, in the unlikely event it does, “Kappa” is up next on the naming list.

An uncertain start to December

Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperature anomalies in degrees Celsius. (Tropical Tidbits)

In most years, tropical activity wraps up before Halloween. But not this year. There are mixed signals about what may lie ahead, but the oceans at the very least have enough fuel left for one or two final acts.

In the United States, it’s probably safe to say the season is over, and that no more tropical systems are likely to affect the Eastern Seaboard or Gulf Coast. Sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico and the Eastern Seaboard are still running well above average and could sustain a storm, but the inevitable southward shift of the jet stream will yield harsh wind dynamics that are largely unsupportive.

In the Caribbean and Atlantic, it’s a different story. While there are no immediate signs of any storm potential, we’re firmly in the season where cold fronts can shed a rogue storm or two that manages to take advantage of still-mild seawaters.

Rising motion in the upper atmosphere could kindle any Atlantic or Caribbean disturbance if it was to gain enough gumption, primarily through about Dec. 10. After that, an influx of sinking air, coupled with the cooling waters, should once and for all shut the door on any meaningful storm development.

So until mid-December, any and all Caribbean and southwest/central Atlantic disturbances will have to be watched with scrutiny just as if was September. The atmosphere doesn’t own a calendar, and, as Iota showed when it became the latest-forming Category 5 storm on record early this week, storms care far more about conditions than the time of year.

The Winds of God’s Wrath Destroys Nicaragua: Jeremiah 23

Hurricane Iota Live Updates: Landslide Warning as Storm Hits Nicaragua

17 minutes ago

The storm is barreling across parts of Central America that are still reeling from Hurricane Eta’s impact earlier this month.

Right Now

Hurricane Iota is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Tuesday afternoon, the national hurricane center said.

Iota weakens, but risk of landslides and flooding remains high.

The hurricane is barreling across parts of Central America that are still reeling from Hurricane Eta’s impact earlier this month.

Image by Delmer Martinez/Associated Press

Stretches of Central America braced for heavy rain, strong winds and flooding on Tuesday morning as Hurricane Iota bore down on the region, the second hurricane to strike the area in less than two weeks.

Even as Iota weakened after making landfall overnight, the National Hurricane Center warned that it could have an outsized impact as it batters areas still recovering from Hurricane Eta this month, including portions of Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

There could be “life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides” across parts of Central America, the center warned.

Iota, which became a hurricane on Sunday, is expected to produce up to 30 inches of rain as it moves further inland across northern Nicaragua and into southern Honduras overnight into Wednesday. The storm is forecast to dissipate over Central America early Wednesday.

The threat of flooding and landslides loomed over the region as Colombia reported the storm’s first casualty on the island of Providencia, where Hurricane Iota struck as a catastrophic Category 5 overnight before weakening as it approached Nicaragua.

Iota made landfall in northeastern Nicaragua at 10:40 p.m. Eastern time on Monday as a Category 4 storm, with wind speeds up to about 155 miles per hour, according to the hurricane center. With waters rising in the northeastern Nicaraguan city of Puerto Cabezas, hundreds of families evacuated from coastal communities as the storm ripped roofs from homes and hotels.

By Tuesday morning, Iota’s maximum wind speed had decreased to 75 miles an hour and the storm had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane, although the hurricane center still warned of the storm’s danger.

No major incidents or loss of life had been reported by the Nicaraguan authorities as of early Tuesday, though infrastructure was damaged in some locations. Iota was expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Tuesday afternoon.

Aid workers struggled to reach communities that were cut off by washed-out bridges, downed trees and flooded roads left by Hurricane Eta, which made landfall this month about 15 miles from where Iota struck.

Iota was expected to move inland across Nicaragua during the morning and across southern Honduras by the evening. On Tuesday morning, the storm’s eye was about 135 miles east of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University, said on Twitter that Iota was the strongest November hurricane on record to make landfall in Nicaragua.

Even before Iota made landfall, its winds blew the roof off a makeshift hospital in Puerto Cabezas that had been set up to treat people affected by Hurricane Eta.

Dozens of Indigenous communities were evacuated over the weekend in Nicaragua and Honduras, where the military shared pictures on Twitter of soldiers helping people out of stilted wooden homes and carrying them to safety. One soldier stood in knee-deep water, holding a resident’s pink backpack in the same arm as his service weapon.

Colombia reports first casualty of storm.

Villagers repairing the roof of a house damaged by Hurricane Iota on Monday in San Andrés Island, Colombia.Getty Images

Colombia reported the first casualty of the hurricane on Tuesday morning, with authorities saying that at least one person died and one went missing overnight when the hurricane struck the island of Providencia as a catastrophic Category 5.

President Iván Duque of Colombia said the island had sustained severe material damage that affected 98 percent of its infrastructure. Mr. Duque arrived at the nearby island of San Andrés on Tuesday morning after flying over Providencia to assess the damage.

“Today Colombia is united to address this calamity,” Mr. Duque said at a news conference in Cartagena on Monday night. “Never in the history of our country have we faced a Category 5 hurricane.”

Mr. Duque also said ships from the Colombian navy were anchored off the coast of Providencia and waiting for weather conditions to improve to deliver aid to the island.

Mr. Duque said that the mayor of Providencia was working to clear debris from the runway of the island’s airport.

On Monday. Mr. Duque said that communication with Providencia had been “very bad” because of failures in the telecommunications network, and that the Colombian military was among the agencies helping with the relief effort.

Video footage from Cartagena, a city on the country’s Caribbean coast, showed people wading cautiously through flooded streets alongside half-submerged boats.

Heavy rain caused by Hurricane Iota flooded streets in Cartagena, Colombia, after intensifying on Sunday.

Image by Ricardo Maldonado Rozo/EPA, via Shutterstock

Before sweeping into Nicaragua, Hurricane Iota clipped two Colombian islands that lie east of Central America’s coastline.


Photos taken on the islands, San Andrés and Providencia, showed trees bending under fierce winds. Colombian officials and news reports said that both islands had suffered electricity blackouts.

In Nicaragua, relief that the hurricane weakened gives way to sorrow.

When Nicaragua awoke on Tuesday after a night of relentless winds and heavy rains, much of the nation clung to a small victory: Hurricane Iota had not yet claimed any lives, the authorities said. The storm, once a catastrophic Category 5, had weakened to a less dangerous Category 1.

But in a poor nation battered by two hurricanes in two weeks, the storm’s impact was still severe. As Iota slammed into Nicaragua’s coast late on Monday, its winds flattened palm trees, ripped off roofs, flooded buildings and downed electricity poles. Heavy flooding inundated roads and homes in the city of Rivas, near the border with Costa Rica, after three rivers overflowed, according to reports on local news and social media.

About 40,000 people were evacuated into shelters, the government said. Residents in the port city of Puerto Cabezas, which bore the brunt of the hurricane’s arrival, spent the night in terror, crammed with their extended families into homes and shelters.

Daisy George West, 61, took shelter with her husband, two siblings and 94-year-old father in the same room in the middle of her house where the family had weathered Hurricane Eta two weeks earlier.

“It’s destroying everything,” she said. “We’re asking the Lord for mercy — mercy, that’s all we have left.”

Dozens of patients in a makeshift hospital set up in Puerto Cabezas for people affected by Hurricane Eta had been evacuated overnight, including three intensive-care patients and three women in labor, Vice President Rosario Murillo said.

Yader Tejada, a 24-year-old student in Puerto Cabezas, took shelter with his family and said the storm had felt like “a nightmare from which I can’t escape.” The hurricane took off part of their roof, which, like most of the homes in the area, is made of flimsy corrugated metal sheets.

“The gusts are like whip lashes, the zinc sheets don’t stop ringing, the trees hit the walls,” Mr. Tejada said. “We haven’t been able to sleep.”

Several of his family members’ homes were destroyed by the storm. “It’s an awful, sad and very painful experience,” he said. “I feel tired, scared, but I’m waiting for this to end soon.”

The storm is hitting a region still reeling from Hurricane Eta.

Soldiers unloading food and humanitarian aid last week in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, which was badly hit by Hurricane Eta.Esteban Biba/EPA, via Shutterstock

Forecasters have warned that Hurricane Iota could compound the destruction caused by Hurricane Eta, which killed at least 140 people throughout Central America after making landfall as a Category 4 storm in Nicaragua.

In Puerto Cabezas, a Nicaraguan city where houses are cobbled together by wood, nails and zinc sheets, families have been sleeping amid the rubble left from the earlier storm. As waters rose on Monday evening, hundreds of families were evacuated. On the eastern side of the city, high winds blew the roofs off some structures.

One resident, Maria Williams, 64, said that after Eta reduced her modest home to rubble, her children improvised a shelter in the same spot. But it was practically on the beach and directly in Hurricane Iota’s line of fire. So she evacuated again, walking through debris left by the last storm to reach her sister’s home.

“This Hurricane Iota is a monster,” Ms. Williams said. “I no longer think I can survive if I stay in this house. I am afraid for myself and my grandchildren.”

Another resident, Rodolfo Altunes, said that he had planned to stay put while Iota hit, but that he and his wife had decided on Monday night to evacuate, with their children in tow, because the wind and storm surges were so powerful.

Two hours after leaving, he learned that his home had been destroyed.

“I am fortunate,” he said. “God loved me.”

The storm complicates efforts to combat the coronavirus.

The responses to Hurricane Iota, and Hurricane Eta before it, have been complicated by the coronavirus pandemic as people fleeing unsafe conditions made their way into crowded shelters where the disease can easily spread.

While outbreaks in Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras — the countries expected to be the hardest hit by the storm — have been smaller than those elsewhere in the region, the hurricane could lead to an uptick in transmission. Natural disasters, paired with the ongoing pandemic response, have proved challenging elsewhere this year, and the impact could be more severe in underserved rural communities.

Sofía Letona, the director of Antigua to the Rescue, an aid group in Guatemala that has distributed food and medicine to hundreds of people displaced by Eta, said that her group had set up makeshift clinics in remote areas. But aid workers found widespread illness among those who had fled their homes, including gastritis, fungal infections and infected mosquito bites. Some said they had headaches, a cough and flulike symptoms — all possible signs of the coronavirus.

The hurricanes may intensify the spread of the virus as people crowd into shelters and interact for the first time with aid workers and others from outside their isolated villages. The government provided masks in some shelters, aid workers said, but many others offered no form of protection against the virus.

“More than a risk, it’s a certainty that there will be some kind of massive contagion in rural shelters,” Ms. Letona said.

As Iota moves inland, communities scramble to prepare.

Crossing the Ulua river to evacuate before the arrival of Hurricane Iota on Monday in Santa Barbara, Honduras.Yoseph Amaya/Getty Images

Iota is expected to produce up to 30 inches of rain in some areas of Nicaragua and Honduras through Friday, and intense rainfall could lead to significant flash flooding and mudslides in higher elevations.

As the storm moved west on Tuesday, patches of both nations’ coastlines were under tropical storm warnings.

President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras said on Monday that soldiers were among many personnel in the country, including firefighters and police officers, who had been activated to prepare for Iota’s arrival. He added that people in the storm’s path would receive cellphone messages advising them of risks and evacuation plans.

“The first and most important thing is to save lives,” he said.

The most active hurricane season on record is not over yet.

A view of the ocean Monday from a home along the Nicaraguan coast.Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, which is set to end on Nov. 30, has had 30 named storms, 13 of them hurricanes. And six of those hurricanes were considered “major”— Eta and Iota among them — meaning Category 3 or higher.

Meteorologists, having exhausted the 21-name list prepared for each hurricane season, turned to the Greek alphabet to name the further new systems. The last time the Greek alphabet was used was in 2005, when 28 storms were strong enough to be named.

This year, storms began two weeks before the Atlantic hurricane season officially kicked off, with the formation of Tropical Storm Albert in mid-May.

In August, midway through the season, scientists upgraded their outlook to say that 2020 would be “one of the most active seasons” and that they expected up to 25 named storms by the time it was over.

By November, even that upgraded expectation was exceeded.

Before Iota hit Nicaragua on Monday, there was Theta, the season’s 29th named storm. It broke the annual record set in 2005, the year that Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast.

Reporting was contributed by Alfonso Flores Bermúdez, Natalie Kitroeff, Yubelka Mendoza, Oscar Lopez, Derrick Bryson Taylor, Mike Ives and Megan Specia.

The Wind of God’s Wrath Becomes a Category 5: Jeremiah 23

Hurricane Iota becomes first Category 5 storm of 2020 season –

Published Nov. 14, 2020 5:17 PM

By Courtney Spamer, AccuWeather meteorologist
& Mary Gilbert, AccuWeather meteorologist

The storm will deal a catastrophic blow to a region that is already in the midst of a humanitarian crisis triggered by Hurricane Eta just two weeks ago.

Thirteen days may be all the time between multiple humanitarian crises in Central America. For the second time this month, a dangerous tropical threat looms large across the region. Areas still working to recover from the deadly Hurricane Eta are now under threat from an equally powerful tropical system — Hurricane Iota.

Iota reached Category 5 strength — the first storm of the season to reach the highest status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale — when its winds peaked at 160 mph on Monday morning. Just hours earlier, the record-breaking 30th named storm of the season had strengthened from a Category 2 storm to a Category 4 major hurricane within an hour’s time.

Iota strengthened so quickly that its intensification ranks among three other historic hurricanes — Gilbert in 1988, Rita in 2005 and Wilma in 2005. Also, Iota became the only storm to rapidly strengthen with its central barometric pressure dropping by 1.8 inches of mercury (61 mb) in 24 hours in November.

At 10 a.m. EST Monday, Iota was generating its whipping winds about 25 miles northeast of Isla de Providencia, Colombia, as it continued moving west at 10 mph. AccuWeather meteorologists are forecasting the powerful system to come ashore either late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, potentially just miles away from the area where Eta made its catastrophic landfall less than two weeks earlier. Hurricane watches and warnings were in effect for much of the coast.

The above animation shows a visible satellite and infrared view of Hurricane Iota on Monday morning, churning in the western Caribbean Sea (NOAA/GOES-East).

Besides Iota, the most recent major hurricane in the Atlantic was Hurricane Eta. Hurricane Eta made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane on Nov. 3, in Nicaragua, which was among the top five strongest storms to ever hit the nation. Eta also carved a path of destruction through Honduras and Guatemala, unleashing feet of rain, tremendous flooding and killing more than 100.

Central America is still facing a humanitarian crisis following Eta’s deadly blow. Millions are enduring dangerous conditions in the storm’s wake — with concerns over waterborne diseases and COVID-19 complicating recovery. And the situation is likely to become even more dire as Iota approaches the coast. 

“With Eta having gone through less than two weeks ago, Hurricane Iota will place another devastating blow to the region. No amount of words can describe the problems this system will add to the crisis already occurring in the area,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde said.

Iota is forecast to pick up some forward speed and as it continues to move westward toward the border of Honduras and Nicaragua on Monday. Along the way, heavy rainfall will inundate northern Colombia and northwestern Venezuela, as well as southern Jamaica.

In addition to widespread rainfall, Iota will continue to move through an area of low wind shear and warm water — around 84 degrees Fahrenheit — in the western Caribbean Sea, allowing the storm to strengthen even further still.

“Iota is expected to strengthen through Monday and make landfall over the northern coast of Nicaragua Monday evening as a Category 4 hurricane,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Mike Doll said. “Landfall will occur north of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, north of where Eta made landfall.”

The exact track it takes, the strength and forward speed as it plows onshore in Central America will determine how grim the situation will become.

“The chance is low, but Iota could become a Category 5 hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 157 mph or higher) on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale,” Doll added.

Should Iota make landfall in Nicaragua as a hurricane, it would be only the second time in history the country would be hit by two hurricanes in one season. The last time it occurred was in 1971, when Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Edith hit Nicaragua.

In Central America, building seas were the first impact, beginning Sunday evening. Next will be the outer bands of Iota, that will bring heavy rain to Nicaragua and eastern Honduras as early as Monday morning, then gusty winds.

The exact strength of Iota at landfall will dictate the wind gusts experienced by the storm. If Iota makes landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, with sustained winds of 130 mph (209 km/h) or greater, the effects could be devastating.

“Massive damage to structures is likely and some will be destroyed. Some areas will be uninhabitable for months,” Doll warned.

In addition to the strongest, most distructive winds being found at the coast near landfall, so too will be the most impactful storm surge from Iota.

Storm surge of 1-3 feet (0.3-1 meter) will stretch from near Claura in Honduras to Haulover, Nicaragua, with the most severe surge, 10-15 feet (3-5 meters) between Puerto Cabezas and Nina Yari. This same area experienced coastal inundation from Eta earlier this month.

Even still, the most widespread and greatest threat to lives and property from the new cyclone is expected to be dealt by serious flooding caused by feet of rainfall. Major river flooding and flash flooding could occur with a vast area of 12-18 inches (300-457 mm) across the mountainous terrain of Honduras, the most likely location for the AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 30 inches (762 mm).

Even more widespread amounts of 2-4 inches (50-100 mm) are forecast from Guatemala to central Nicaragua, worsening ongoing flooding and clean-up efforts.

With all of the mountainous terrain and the very saturated ground following Hurricane Eta, mudslides are a definite concern with the new tropical threat.

Given the threat posed by devastating storm surge, catastrophic flooding inland and devastating winds, Iota will be a 5 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes over Central America. This is based on the life-threatening heavy rainfall that will lead to catastrophic flooding, damaging winds, storm surge and a number of other economic factors.

The AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes is a 6-point scale with ratings of less than 1 and 1 to 5. In contrast to the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale, which classifies storms by wind speed only, the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes is based on a broad range of important factors. In order to better communicate a more comprehensive representation of the potential impact of a storm to lives and livelihoods, the scale covers not only wind speed, but also flooding rain, storm surge and economic damage and loss. Some of these hazards, such as inland flooding and storm surge, in many storms result in more deaths and economic loss than wind.

Tropical Storm Iota developed Friday afternoon in the central Caribbean just hours after the system had become Tropical Depression 31. Iota strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane early Sunday morning and officially became the 13th hurricane of the season. 2020 is now just two shy of the record number of hurricanes to churn in the Atlantic in one season held by 2005.

In fact, this is the first time the NHC has ever gotten this far into the Greek alphabet during a tropical season.

Iota strengthened into a the sixth major hurricane — Category 3 or greater — of the season early Monday morning. Five other major hurricanes churned in the Atlantic this season: Laura, Teddy, Delta, Epsilon and Eta.

According to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University, 2020 is now in a seven-way tie for the second-most major hurricanes in an Atlantic hurricane season. Other years that have had six major hurricanes include 1926, 1933, 1950, 1996, 2004 and 2017. The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season holds the record for the most major hurricanes, with seven total so far.

Possibly even more impressive is how rapidly Iota managed to strengthen over less than 12 hours. On Sunday at 4 p.m. EST, Iota had sustained winds of 90 mph and was considered a Category 1 hurricane. By 1:40 a.m. EST Monday, Iota was a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds of 140 mph.

2020 set the record for the most tropical storms to be named in one Atlantic hurricane season as Theta became the 29th tropical storm of the season last week. Theta has since lost wind intensity and has dissipated, after swirling between the Azores and the Canary Islands Sunday morning. 

The Winds of God’s Wrath strengthen into major, historic Category 4 storm: Jeremiah 23

‘An extremely dangerous situation’: Hurricane Iota tostrengthen into major, historic Category 4 storm



NOV 15, 2020 AT 3:52 PM

Hurricane Iota is quickly gaining strength as it moves closer to Central America, with forecasters at the National Hurricane Center warning the storm could bring catastrophic winds, a life-threatening storm surge and torrential rainfall to the region.

Iota is approaching Nicaragua and Honduras and may be at or near Category 4 strength at landfall, according to the latest forecast.

At 4 p.m. EST Sunday, Hurricane Iota was located about 140 miles east of Isla de Providencia, Colombia, and about 285 miles east-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border.

Iota’s maximum sustained winds are up to 90 mph with higher gusts, and it’s moving wes across the southwestern Caribbean Sea at 9 mph, the NHC said.

Iota is expected to become a Category 4 hurricane with 130 mph winds as it reaches Central America. It’s the 13th hurricane of the season, and once it reaches Category 3 strength, it would be the sixth major hurricane of the season.

“Rapid strengthening is expected during the next 36 hours, and Iota is forecast to be an extremely dangerous category 4 hurricane when it approaches Central America,” forecasters said.

Iota would also be the second major hurricane to form in November after Eta. This would mark the first hurricane season on record with two major hurricane formations in November, according to Colorado State University meteorologist researcher Phil Klotzbach.

Iota’s hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles from the center, while tropical-storm-force winds extend up to 115 miles from the center. The storm poses no threat to Florida.

“On the forecast track, the core of Iota will move across the southwestern Caribbean Sea today, pass near or over Providencia island late tonight or Monday, and approach the coasts of northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras within the hurricane warning area late Monday,” forecasters said.

[Popular on] ‘An extremely dangerous situation’: Hurricane Iota to strengthen into major, historic Category 4 storm »

Iota is expected to produce 8 to 16 inches of rain, with isolated 20- to 30-inch totals, across portions of Honduras, northern Nicaragua, Guatemala and southern Belize through Friday next week, the NHC said.

Costa Rica, Panama, El Salvador, southern Nicaragua and northern Colombia can expect between 1 to 8 inches, with isolated totals of 12 inches of rainfall.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the island of Providencia; the coast of Nicaragua, from its border with Honduras to Sandy Bay Sirpi; and the coast of northeastern Honduras from Punta Patuca to its border with Nicaragua. A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the island of San Andrés.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for San Andrés; the coast of Nicaragua, from south of Sandy Bay Sirpi to Bluefields; and the northern coast of Honduras from west of Punta Patuca to Punta Castilla.

Tropical storm conditions are expected on the islands of San Andrés and Providencia starting Sunday afternoon into the night, with hurricane conditions coming late Sunday into early Monday. Nicaragua and Honduras can expected hurricane conditions by late Monday.

Life-threatening surf and rip current conditions are possible along parts of the coast of Colombia and the southern coasts of Hispaniola and Jamaica over the next day or two, due to swells caused by Iota, forecasters said. These swells will reach the coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras Sunday night into Monday.

Iota formed in the Caribbean on Friday afternoon, becoming the 30th named storm of a record-breaking hurricane season. It grew from a tropical depression earlier Friday.

Iota’s familiar path

Iota is moving along the same path that Tropical Storm Eta took two weeks ago, when it headed straight for Central America and also strengthened into a major hurricane.

Unlike Eta, though, Iota is not expected to turn and impact the United States.

The general consensus of spaghetti models shows Hurricane Iota targeting Central America on a similar path to Hurricane Eta. One model shows Iota abruptly stopping and staying north toward Cuba, and another shooting straight for Mexico. (Screenshot Source) (Clarion Ledger Storm Tracker via Mapbox)

Eta thrashed Nicaragua and Honduras as a major Category 4 storm and weakened to a depression over the region’s mountainous terrain. It then turned back towards the Caribbean and redeveloped into a tropical storm to target the Cayman Islands, Cuba, the Bahamas and, ultimately, Florida.

“Central America is going to be impacted a lot because they have already seen very heavy rains and strong winds just about ten days ago, and more is on the way,” Fox 35 meteorologist Allison Gargaro said.

People in the region are still grappling with the aftermath of Eta, which has been blamed for the deaths of at least 120 people as its torrential rains brought flash floods and landslides to parts of Central America and Mexico.

Parts of Honduras and Nicaragua are still flooded and recovering from Eta’s damage.

After ravaging the region, Eta then turned, meandered across Cuba, the Florida Keys and around the Gulf of Mexico before slogging ashore again near Cedar Key, Florida. It then dashed across Florida and the Carolinas.

Eta made landfall over Lower Matecumbe Key late last Sunday. It dumped torrential rain across South Florida, causing flooding and whipping up winds and storm surge.

The NHC has stopped tracking Tropical Storm Eta. Forecasters predict Eta and its remnants will accelerate in speed and sprint northeast away from the U.S. (Watch Eta’s historic development here).

[Popular on] How will Tropical Storm Eta affect Orlando and Central Florida »

The official end of hurricane season is two weeks away, so if the tropics continue to churn out waves with high chances for development, the world may see more record-breaking figures and potentially more dangerous storms.

The earlier tropical depression tied 2005′s 31 tropical systems. The previous record for named storms was 29, also set in 2005, which was surpassed earlier this week with the formation of Tropical Storm Theta.

(National Hurricane Center)

Theta, now a Post-Tropical Cyclone, is continuing its eastbound journey, last located about 650 miles southeast of the Azores. The storm has weakened to 30 mph maximum sustained winds and is moving at 2 mph.

Honduras and Guatemala brace for the wind of God’s wrath: Jeremiah 23

Honduras and Guatemala brace for next incoming storm | Honduras | Al Jazeera

Still reeling from Hurricane Eta, Central America is expecting heavy rain and winds from Tropical Storm Iota on Monday.

A resident looks at storm damage caused by Hurricane Eta in Planeta, Honduras [Delmer Martinez/AP]

Still reeling from the deadly devastation of Hurricane Eta, Honduras and Guatemala are bracing for another tropical storm to hit the region.

In a statement issued at 10am ET (15:00 GMT) on Saturday, the United States-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that Tropical Storm Iota was expected to strengthen, bringing “dangerous winds, storm surge and rainfall” to Central America starting on Monday.

The storm was located about 545km (340 miles) from Kingston, Jamaica, the NHC said.

Iota is forecast to be at or near major hurricane strength when it approaches Central America,” the agency said in its statement.

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said on Saturday that he had ordered evacuations for areas expected to be affected by the incoming storm.

“We are concerned about the area of Alta Verapaz and Quiche. We believe that they are the areas where we could have the greatest impact,” Giammattei said. “We hope God helps us.”

In Honduras, President Juan Orlando Hernandez also urged people in the path of Iota to evacuate to the nearest shelters. “Iota is going to put our lives and our economy at risk again,” he said.

The region is still recuperating after Category 4 Hurricane Eta struck earlier this month, killing at least 120 people, according to Reuters news agency’s tally.

Heavy rainfall led to deadly flash flooding and landslides in several countries.

On Saturday morning, authorities in Guatemala said a mudslide buried 10 people in the state of Chiquimula near the border with Honduras. Emergency workers said they rescued two people and recovered three bodies, while five others are still missing.

Residents affected by Hurricane Eta stand in a line to receive donated food in Planeta, Honduras [Delmer Martinez/AP]

Guatemala’s Alta Verapaz region has been especially hard hit by Eta, as a mountain partly collapsed in the village of Queja, killing and burying alive dozens of people.

Rescue operations across Honduras and Guatemala were slowed by destroyed roads and bridges, forcing authorities to draft in the military and use helicopters and speedboats to rescue people stranded on top of their houses.

Iota is already a record-setting system, being the 30th named storm of this year’s extraordinarily busy Atlantic hurricane season.

Such activity has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger and more destructive storms.

We are concerned about the area of Alta Verapaz and Quiche. We believe that they are the areas where we could have the greatest impact. We hope God helps us

Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei

The NHC said the storm could lead to life-threatening flash flooding and cause rivers to burst their banks in parts of Haiti, Jamaica and Central America through Wednesday.

Residents of the community of Cruz de Valencia in northwestern Honduras have already begun evacuating.

“We have to get out, we have to save our lives,” resident Erick Gomez told Reuters news agency.

Gomez said he only survived the flooding from the last hurricane by clinging to a tree to avoid being swept away by the rushing water.

“We are afraid of what we just suffered with Eta, and we do not want to go through the same thing again,” he added.

Source : News Agencies