Hurricane Iota has reportedly made landfall in the northeast of Nicaragua on Monday, November 16. More than 1500 people were evacuated from coastal communities in the northeast of the country on Sunday, November 15, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Iota. The evacuations included the Cayos Miquitos archipelago, but many coastal communities remain difficult to reach as they continue to recover from the passage of Hurricane Eta earlier in November.
In its latest update on Iota, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported the storm has strengthened significantly over the Caribbean Sea into a category five storm, with sustained wind speeds of 260kph (150mph); however, as it made landfall, it weakened into a category four storm. A hurricane warning is in effect for coastal areas of Nicaragua from Sandy Bay Sirpi to the border with Honduras. A tropical storm warning has also been issued for areas between Sandy Bay Sirpi and Bluefields. Currently, no damages or casualties have been reported.
Hurricane conditions are likely to cause wind damage, flooding, and landslides in northeastern Nicaragua from Monday until Thursday, November 19, along with associated disruptions to transport, businesses, and utilities.
Nicaragua is semi-regularly affected by tropical storm systems, which can approach from its Caribbean coast from June through November. These storms can be particularly devastating for rural areas, many of which have suffered catastrophic damage from winds and flooding in the past.
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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