Hurricane Eta has strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane as of Monday afternoon, November 2, and continues to rapidly intensify ahead of its forecast landfall on Tuesday morning, November 3, on the coast of northeastern Nicaragua. It is currently sustaining winds of near 240 kph (150mph) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is forecast until Eta reaches the coast of Nicaragua, where it is forecast to weaken after it moves inland. It is forecast to move towards Honduras late Tuesday, or early Wednesday, November 4. The government in Honduras has placed five Atlantic coast regions on red alert, its highest warning, and evacuations are underway. Adverse weather conditions on Monday forced some Honduran ports to close, while several towns on its Atlantic coast were already suffering from flooding.
According to the latest update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 18:00 (local time), Eta was located about 110km (70 miles) east-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Honduras-Nicaragua border and was moving west-southwest at 15 kph (9mph). It is expected to make landfall near Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua, with the worst storm surge flooding taking place to the north of the center.
Several warnings and watches are in effect for coastal areas of Honduras. A Hurricane Watch and Tropical Storm Warning are in effect from Punta Patuca (Gracias a Dios department) to the Honduran-Nicaraguan border, and a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect west of Punta Patuca to Punta Castilla (Colón department).
Tropical storm-force winds are expected in the warning area from Monday afternoon and hurricane-force winds are possible by early Tuesday. Tropical storm-force winds are possible by early Tuesday in the watch area. Up to 890 mm (35 inches) of rainfall could fall in affected areas through Friday, November 6. A storm surge of up to 1.5 m (5 ft) is possible in coastal areas and dangerous swells and rip current conditions are expected at sea. Flooding and landslides are possible in affected areas and may lead to associated disruptions to transport, businesses, and utilities.
Through Friday evening, heavy rainfall from Eta will likely lead to catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding, river flooding, and landslides in portions of Central America, particularly in Nicaragua and Honduras, as well as Guatemala and Belize. Flash and river flooding are also possible across Jamaica, southeast Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti, and the Cayman Islands.
Honduras is vulnerable to powerful storms and hurricanes from June to November. These storm systems have the potential to unleash heavy downpours and strong winds as well as storm surges that can wreak havoc in coastal areas. Travel and service delivery are also known to be affected. In addition, storm systems can cause rain-triggered floods and landslides, which pose considerable hazards to both human communities and infrastructure.
Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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