Hurricane Iota is expected to bring “potentially catastrophic” winds and “life-threatening storm surge” to Central America, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The fast-forming hurricane is taking aim at Nicaragua and Honduras, which were recently battered by Hurricane Eta.
In an advisory issued Sunday at 7 a.m. ET, the hurricane center said Iota “continues to rapidly strengthen.”
At the time of the advisory, Iota was about 240 miles east of Isla de Providencia, Colombia and about 380 miles east-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua-Honduras border. The hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and is traveling west-northwest at about 6 mph.
“A westward to west-northwestward motion is expected during the next couple of days until landfall occurs in Central America,” forecasters said. “Iota will move across the southwestern Caribbean Sea today, pass near or over Providencia island on Monday, and approach the coasts of Nicaragua and northeastern Honduras Monday night.”
A hurricane warning is in effect for Providencia, the coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras-Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi and the coast of northeastern Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras-Nicaragua border.
“Rapid strengthening is expected during the next day or two, and Iota is forecast to be a major hurricane when it approaches Central America,” the NHC said.
Early Sunday, a reconnaissance aircraft found that Iota had strengthened into the 13th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season.
Iota was already a record-breaking system, being the 30th named storm of this year’s extraordinarily busy Atlantic season. Such activity has focused attention on climate change, which scientists say is causing wetter, stronger and more destructive storms.
In a separate advisory, the NHC noted that tropical depression Theta is expected to become post-tropical later on Sunday.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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