Sustained Eta winds grew to 75 miles per hour early Monday morning. The storm is moving west towards Central America at 19 km / h. This comes from an updated notice from the NHC released early Monday. Eta is expected to land in Nicaragua late Monday through Tuesday as a possible Category 2 hurricane with wind speeds of around 100 miles per hour.
A hurricane warning from the Honduras-Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi is now in effect, the NHC in Nicaragua said.
Heavy rain leads to “catastrophic, life-threatening flash floods” Landslides, dangerous storm surges and damaging wings, according to the NHC.
The center of Eta is expected to approach the northeast coast of Nicaragua on Monday afternoon and land early Tuesday before moving inland via northern Nicaragua by early Wednesday, according to NHC.
“Eta is expected to be a major hurricane if it lands early Tuesday,” NHC said.
The greatest threat from the storm will be heavy rain with estimates of 15 to 25 inches and isolated amounts of up to 35 inches in Nicaragua and Honduras.
The life-threatening storm surge along the Nicaraguan coast is expected to be up to 15 feet above normal tide. Extremely strong winds hit areas from the coast towards the mountains.
The risk of wind and storm surges will decrease as the day progresses on Tuesday, but the rain will continue well into the week.
Heavy rain will spread across Central America, where areas from southeast Mexico to Panama can see rainfall accumulations up to 25 inches.
“This rainfall would lead to catastrophic, life-threatening flash floods and river floods, along with landslides in higher-ground areas in Central America,” the NHC said. “Flash floods and river floods would be possible in Jamaica, southeastern Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti and the Cayman Islands.”
The current forecast is for the storm to meander through the mountains of Nicaragua and Honduras before heading north towards Belize as a depression by Friday. The trail and intensity of the storm remains uncertain after Friday and is closely monitored.
Eta is the 28th named storm of the active 2020 hurricane season and sets the record for the number of named storms in a single season, which was reset in 2005.
The storm could be one of the worst flood events Nicaragua has seen since Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed more than 10,000 people.