The heart of powerful Hurricane Eta began moving ashore in Nicaragua on Tuesday (NZT Wednesday) with devastating winds and rains that had already destroyed rooftops and caused rivers to overflow.
Two men were killed in when landslide buried the mine they were working in in Bonanza, on Nicaragua's north coast. In that case, impacts to Florida, Cuba and the Bahamas would not be out of the question during the second week of November, according to AccuWeather.
According to the 10 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Eta has maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour and is producing life-threatening flash flooding over parts of Central America.
At present, officials believe that the storm's eye will strike northern portions of Nicaragua through Wednesday morning before Eta turns its attention to Honduras, wreaking havoc across central portions of that country.
About 10,000 people were in shelters in Bilwi and an equal number in smaller towns across the region, he said.
Tropical Storm Eta still has days of devastation in store for Central America, and after lingering there the storm is set to move on to the U.S. coast. It made landfall on Tuesday with winds estimated at 140 miles per hour.
No deaths or injuries were reported, he said.
A boat was sent on Wednesday to collect the body of one fishermen, who died from a heart attack, but the Navy will be needed to rescue others, Morales said.
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So far, the Navy has not been able to attempt rescuing the fishermen due to the unsafe weather conditions, said Douglas Espinal, head of the fire of the fire department in the port of Puerto Lempira.
Ahead of the storm's arrival, the governments of both Nicaragua and Honduras declared red alerts, ordering thousands of residents living in coastal areas to evacuate from their homes as a precaution.
This could be only the beginning of Eta's destruction.
The NHC has indicated that much of Nicaragua and Honduras will see between 15 and 25 inches of rain, with isolated areas getting up to 35 inches. Heavy rains also were likely in eastern Guatemala, southern Belize and Jamaica.
The quantities of rain expected drew comparisons to 1998's Hurricane Mitch, one of the deadliest Atlantic hurricanes in history. Per the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), there are more than 105,100 people in Nicaragua and Honduras exposed to hurricane winds and 1.1 million people exposed to tropical cyclone levels of rainfall.
The IMN says Costa Ricans living in the Central Valley or toward the Pacific coast should continue to expect rain through Thursday.
On Monday, Hurricane Eta intensified and strengthened by 80 mph in 24 hours, becoming a Category 4 storm like Hurricane Laura, known as the strongest hurricane for the 2020 season.