MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) – Hurricane Iyota intensified into Typhoon 5 on Monday, causing devastating damage to the same part of Central America that was already hit by a powerful hurricane two weeks ago.
Iota has intensified its approach to Nicaragua and Honduras over the Western Caribbean. The US National Hurricane Center said the storm was blowing at a maximum speed of 160 mph (260 km / h). It was centered about 80 miles (130 km) east-southeast of Puerto Cabasos, also known as Bilvi, Nicaragua, and moved westward at a speed of 9 miles (15 km).
Authorities have warned that Iota could be washed ashore by landslides and floodwaters in the flood-prone areas of Etta, and that the storm surge could reach 15 to 20 feet (4.5 to 6 meters) above normal.
That storm surge was on Yasmina Wright’s mind in the vicinity of Philvi’s El Mulle on Monday, sitting tight against the sea.
“The situation is not good,” White said. “We woke up without electricity, it was raining and the surf was very high.”
Fried, who works at a small-scale fishing organization called Bigvinera, said the roof of his house was blown off two weeks ago in Etta. “We fixed it as much as we could, and now I think the wind will take it back, because they say they (Iota) are even stronger,” Wright said, echoing around her as she climbs the neighbors ’windows and reinforced roofs.
During Etta the surf came to the back of his house, where he lives with the other eight members of his family. “Today I am afraid again of losing my home. I am afraid of all of us who live in this neighborhood.”
Some neighbors have moved elsewhere with relatives, but most have stayed, White said. “We’re almost here,” he said. “Neither the army nor the government came to move us.”
Cairo Jarkin, Nicaragua Emergency Response Project Manager for Catholic Relief Services, visited the Bilvi and small coastal communities on Friday.
At Wawa Bar, he said he saw Jarkin’s “total destruction.” People have been working frantically to put roofs over the heads of their families, but now Iota is threatening to take the rest.
“It can destroy the little ones that were standing,” Jarkin said. There were other communities locally that he could not even reach because of the condition of the roads. He said he heard Wawa Bar was evicted again on Saturday.
Over the weekend evacuation sites were removed from low-lying areas in Nicaragua and Honduras.
Limport Bucardo, a Miskito tribesman, said many went to churches in Bilvi. He left Etta at home with his wife and two children, but this time decided to move to a safer neighborhood with relatives.
“We repaired our homes and didn’t settle down when another hurricane came,” Bucardo said. “The shelters in Bilvi are already packed, with people from (surrounding) communities.”
Ioda is the 30th named storm of the unusually busy Atlantic hurricane season this year. This is the ninth hurricane to intensify this season, and it is a dangerous event. Such activity has focused on climate change, with scientists claiming it could cause wet, strong and devastating storms.
And was Nicaragua was hit by a Type 4 hurricane that killed at least 120 people as floodwaters and landslides caused by torrential rains in parts of Central America and Mexico. It then plunged around Cuba, the Florida Keys and the Gulf of Mexico before landing again near the Cedar Key of Florida, and across Florida and the Carolinas.
Iota predicts 8 to 16 inches (200-400 millimeters) of rain in northern Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and southern Belize, and 30 inches (750 millimeters) in isolated areas. The epicenter was reported below the Pacific Ocean floor, however; no tsunami alert was issued.
Etta was the 28th storm named this year, which equaled the 2005 record. Remains of the 29th Theta disintegrated Sunday in the East Atlantic Ocean.
For the past two decades, meteorologists have been more concerned about storms like Iota, which act much faster than normal. They created an official gateway to this rapid intensity – a storm reaching 35 mph (56 km / h) in just 24 hours. Iota doubled it.
Earlier this year, Hannah, Laura, Sally, Teddy, Gamma, Delta, Zeta and Iota all intensified rapidly. Laura and Delta set the record for rapid intensification.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Climate and hurricane scientists when studying its effect found that “it has a lot to do with man-made climate change.”
According to Phil Clotsbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, there were two major hurricanes in the Atlantic, and this is the first time in November that winds of 110 mph (177 km / h) were blowing over Iota and Etta. When the upper winds of Iota reached 155 mph (250 km / hr), they joined Lenny in 1999 for a strong Atlantic hurricane later in the calendar year.
The official end of the hurricane season is Nov. 30.
Associated Press Writers Marlon Gonzalez in Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Seth Borenstein in Bethesda, MD; Christopher Sherman of Mexico City contributed to this report.