U.S. forecasters says Hurricane Iota has strengthened to a “catastrophic” Category 5 storm — the latest in the year such a storm has formed — and is likely to bring catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surges and torrential rainfall to Central America, still trying to recover from Hurricane Eta. In its latest report, the National Hurricane Center says Iota is about 160 kilometers east-southeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, with maximum sustained winds of 260 kilometers per hour, making it the strongest storm of the 2020 season. It is moving to the west at about 15 kilometers per hour.  Forecasters say on its current track, the core of Iota will make landfall within the hurricane warning area in northeastern Nicaragua Monday night, in almost the exact location Hurricane Eta came ashore two weeks ago.  Workers of banana fields evacuate the area in El Progreso, Yoro department, Honduras, on November 14, 2020, before the arrival of tropical storm Iota.That storm killed at least 50 people, destroyed buildings, knocked out power, and led to flooding and landslides. Iota is the record-breaking 30th named storm of the 2020 season and, along with Eta, marks the first time two major hurricanes have formed in the month of November.  It is also the tenth named storm to “rapidly” intensify — that is, strengthen by more than 55.5 kph in a 24-hour period. Meteorologists attribute the effect to warm waters in the southern Caribbean.


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