Hurricane Iota on Monday was named a Category 5 hurricane as it heads north along the east coast of Central America. Iota, which has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph, ranks as the second-strongest November storm on record.

Iota is expected to hit Honduras and Nicaragua on Monday night and warnings have already been announced since the upgrade from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane in just one day.

Iota is the latest Category 5 hurricane to occur in the Atlantic on record. The National Hurricane Center has called it a catastrophic storm and it is considered the most powerful hurricane of the entire 2020 season. 

Iota has been forecasted to hit Guatemala. Army general Francisco Muss, who’s in charge of rescue efforts, told the New York Times that Iota may cause catastrophic damage. 

“If Iota hits with the strength they’re forecasting, it will be chaos. I don’t think we have begun to comprehend the impact of this crisis, in terms of the humanitarian disaster," he said.

Central American countries are still recovering from Hurricane Eta that hit just two weeks ago. Eta ripped all through the Atlantic and made its way up to Florida. 

Hurricane Iota could cause the effects of Eta to be exacerbated and cause mudslides and flooding that could be life-threatening. 

The exact time of landfall for Iota is unknown, but some of Central America are already seeing the effects of the storm. It’s moving west at 9 MPH and residents are encouraged to take shelter and stay inside until the storm passes.

Hurricane Iota recording sustained winds of 155 mph ahead of landfall in Central America. Hurricane Iota recording sustained winds of 155 mph ahead of landfall in Central America. Photo: US National Hurricane Center