Sustained winds from Eta rose to 75 mph early Monday morning. The storm is moving west toward Central America at 12 mph, according to an updated NHC advisory released early Monday. Eta is expected to make landfall in Nicaragua from Monday to Tuesday as a possible Category 2 hurricane, with winds of around 100 mph.
A hurricane warning is now in effect from the Honduran-Nicaraguan border to Sandy Bay Sirpi, the Nicaraguan NHC said.
Heavy rains will lead to “catastrophic and potentially fatal flash floods”, as well as landslides, dangerous storm surge and damaged wings, according to the NHC.
The center of Eta is expected to approach the northeast coast of Nicaragua on Monday afternoon and land early on Tuesday before moving inland in northern Nicaragua until Wednesday morning, according to NHC.
The potentially fatal storm surge along the Nicaraguan coast is expected to be up to 15 feet above normal tide. Extremely strong winds will affect parts of the coast towards the mountains.
The threat of wind and storm surge will diminish throughout Tuesday, but the rain will last well into the week.
Heavy rains will spread throughout Central America, where areas from southeastern Mexico to Panama could see rain accumulations of up to 25 inches.
“These rains would cause catastrophic and potentially fatal flash floods and river flooding, as well as landslides in areas of higher ground in Central America,” the NHC said. “Flash floods and river flooding are possible across Jamaica, southeastern Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti and the Cayman Islands. ”
Currently forecasted, the storm winds through the mountains of Nicaragua and Honduras before heading north toward Belize as a low on Friday. The path and intensity of the storm remain uncertain after Friday and will be closely monitored.
Eta is the 28th named storm of the 2020 active hurricane season and ties the record for the number of named storms in a single season in 2005.
The storm has the potential to be one of the worst floods Nicaragua has seen since Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which killed more than 10,000 people.