KEY POINTS

  • Hurricane Iota is expected to make landfall Monday night local time
  • The storm is packing sustained winds of 155 mph
  • Iota is the 13th Atlantic hurricane so far this season

Hurricane Iota is a dangerous category four storm that is expected to dump heavy rains and bring life-threatening surge to Central America, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Monday.

The NHC said a hurricane warning is in effect for Honduras, Nicaragua and parts of Colombia. Landfall from the “extremely dangerous” storm is expected Monday night local time. The storm, which is packing sustained winds of 155 mph, could dump as much as two feet of rain on the area and bring storm surge as high as 15 feet.

“Iota is expected to continue to rapidly intensify and could possibly be a catastrophic category 5 hurricane when it approaches the coast of Central America tonight,” the latest forecast reads.”Extreme winds and a life-threatening storm surge are expected along portions of the coast of northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras, where a hurricane warning is in effect.”

Once it makes landfall, the storm is expected to move west and southwest through Central America. National Public Radio reported that an estimated 63,500 people in Honduras and 1,500 people in Nicaragua evacuated or relocated ahead of Iota’s landfall.

This is the second major hurricane to hit Central America in as many weeks. Hurricane Eta, a Category 4 storm at its peak, caused landslides and widespread flooding across Central America and into the U.S. south, displacing thousands of people and leaving many more dead or missing.

CNN reported that more than 3.6 million people in Central America were impacted to some degree by Eta.

This year’s Atlantic hurricane season is the busiest on record, with Iota becoming the 30th named storm and 13th hurricane so far in 2020.

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