Hurricane Iota: Central America Braces for its Second Hurricane in as Many Weeks

Nov 15, 2020

Central America gears up for the impact of Hurricane Iota, the second major storm to hit the Isthmus in two weeks.

They say if there was no bad luck, there would be no luck at at, right? That especially seems relevant in 2020 for Central America as it braces for another storm.

Central America often goes years without hurricanes hitting it. And then it has years like 2020, the worst-possible year, where two come right on the heels of each other.

Right now, Iota is out in the Caribbean, drenching northern Colombia with torrential rain. Last night, it upgraded from a tropical storm into a category 1 hurricane.

The US National Hurricane center expects Iota to upgrade to a category 4 hurricane by the time it hits Nicaragua on Monday.

And the worst news is, Iota will strike Nicaragua close to the Honduran border, in exactly the same area devastated by Eta earlier this month.

Apart from Nicaragua, Honduras is on red alert, with massive evacuations planned in areas hit hard by Eta. Costa Rica and Guatemala are also expecting heavy rains on already saturated ground.

President Giammattei of Guatemala has been active on Twitter, urging citizens to remain calm. Guatemala received the bulk of Eta’s 200+ fatalities.

Costa Rican authorities are also asking people to remain vigilant, especially in the north of the country and along the Central Pacific coast.

Panama has also put much of the country on red alert, especially the Eta-hit provinces of Bocas del Toro and Chiriqui.   

Hurricane Eta left at least 17 people dead in Panama this month.

El Salvador is also bracing for Iota, which it expects to receive as a tropical depression on Tuesday at some point. Like the rest of the region, the amount of water already saturating the soil in El Salvador makes for a potentially dangerous situation.

President Bukele has already told citizens that Iota will hit El Salvador harder than Eta, and preparations should be double that of the previous storm. From El Salvador, Iota is expected to head out into the Pacific Ocean.

This week looks like being another tough week for Central America in already a very tough year.

James Dyde is the editor of centralamerica.com. He lives in Escazu, Costa Rica.