March 22, 2023

The Queens County Citizen

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Hurricane Iota is expected to hit Nicaragua as a Category 5 hurricane

Hurricane Iota intensified into a Category 5 hurricane on Monday, potentially causing catastrophic damage to the same part of Central America that was already devastated by a powerful Eta hurricane two weeks ago.

The US National Hurricane Center said the storm was expected to have a maximum wind speed of 260 km per hour by noon. It is located 90 km east-southeast of the city of Puerto Cabbage in Nicaraguan, also known as Bilvi, and moves westward at a speed of 15 km per hour.

Nicaragua and Honduras are hitting the Caribbean coast with torrential rains and strong winds as landslides break in northeastern Nicaragua.

Authorities have warned that the storm will probably make landfall in areas where Eta’s torrential rains have saturated the soil, causing new landslides and floods, and the storm surge will reach 4.5 to six meters higher than normal tides.

Cairo Jorquin, Nicaragua Emergency Response Project Manager for Catholic Relief Services, visited Bilvey and small coastal areas on Friday.

This satellite image, made available by NOAA, shows the Iota Hurricane in the North Atlantic Ocean on Monday, November 16, 2020. The storm is expected to turn a landslide into a Category 5 hurricane in Central America. (NOAA by the Associated Press)

At Wawa Bar‌, Jక్rquin says he discovered “total destruction”. People are working angrily to put roofs over the heads of their families, but now Iota is threatening to take the rest.

“The few that stand can be destroyed,” Jarquin said. There were other communities in the hinterland that he could not even reach due to the condition of the roads. Wawa said he heard the bar was vacated again on Saturday.

Evacuations are taking place from the lowlands of Nicaragua and Honduras near their shared border.

First Lady Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo said Monday that the government had done everything necessary to save lives, including the evacuation of thousands. She said Taiwan had donated 800 tonnes of rice to help those affected by the cyclone.

30th season storm

Iota is the 30th hurricane to hit the unusually busy Atlantic hurricane season this year. It is also the ninth hurricane to intensify this season, making it a very frequent and dangerous phenomenon. Such activities are focused on climate change, scientists say, causing humid, stronger and more devastating storms.

Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach said Iota was stronger than Hurricane Katrina in 2005 based on central pressure and was the first hurricane named after the Greek alphabet to hit Category 5. It also set a record for the latest Category 5 hurricane, beating the record set by Hurricane Cuba on November 8, 1932.

Iota estimates 250-500 mm of rainfall in northern Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and southern Belize, up to 750 mm in isolated areas. The hurricane center said Costa Rica and Panama could also experience heavy rains and flooding.

After Eta there is still a chance of more rain of concern for the homeless.

Homeless Silver Guadalupe Contreras consoled his son on Monday after the last storm hit the area. Hurricane Iota is expected to wreak havoc on the same part of Central America that was hit by a powerful Eta hurricane two weeks ago. (Delmar Martinez / The Associated Press)

Grew faster than usual

On Monday, 48-year-old Carmen Isabel Rodriguez Ortez lived inside a government shelter for more than 250 people in La Lima, Honduras outside San Pedro Sula. Destroyed by the devastation of Eta, she quickly mourns the thought of another storm’s torrential rains.

“We live like a real nightmare,” Rodriguez said. As Eta traveled, flooding their homes, the Me Saravelli River filled her reform area. “Now they have announced more rain and we don’t know what’s going on, because our houses are completely filled.”

Over the past two decades, meteorologists have become increasingly concerned about hurricanes such as Iota, which are gaining power much faster than normal. They created the official entry for this rapid intensity – a hurricane with a wind speed of 56 km per hour in just 24 hours. Iota doubled it.

Earlier this year, Hannah, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma, Delta, Zeta and Iota all intensified. Laura and Delta set records for rapid escalation.

Climate and hurricane scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have studied this effect and found that it “has a lot to do with human-climate change.”

The official end of the hurricane season is November 30.

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