Forecasters say Hurricane Eta is strengthening in the southern Caribbean and could become a major hurricane soon.
In its most recent report, the National Hurricane Center says Eta is about 265 kilometers east-northeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua and moving west at about 17 kilometers per hour. It has maximum sustained winds of about 150 kilometers per hour, making it a strong Category 1 storm on the Saffir-Simpson scale by which hurricane strength is measured.
The hurricane center is expecting the storm to rapidly intensify over the next 24 hours, saying the system could become a major Category 3 hurricane by the time it reaches Nicaragua early Tuesday.
The forecasters say the storm’s current track will take in further inland over Central America over the next several days. It is expected to move slowly and could bring 35- to 63 centimeters of rain and life-threatening flash flooding conditions to Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala by the end of the week. Landslides are possible in higher elevations.
Eta is the 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, tying a record set in 2005. That year — as was the case this year — the hurricane center ran out of names in the conventional alphabet and had to resort to the Greek alphabet. This is the first year any storm was named Eta.
The hurricane season ends at the end of November.