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03 Nov 2020 | 12:13 PM UTC

El Salvador: Authorities issue red alert due to Hurricane Eta November 2

Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources issues national red alert due to Hurricane Eta on November 2; heavy rain, flooding, and associated disruptions expected in the coming days

environnement
transport
SLV

Event

On Monday, November 2, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources (MARN) issued a national red alert due to heavy rain forecast as Hurricane Eta approaches the region. The storm system was due to make landfall in north-eastern Nicaragua on Tuesday, November 3, as a Category 4 hurricane. While it is forecast to weaken upon impact, heavy rain is expected across Central America in the coming days. MARN warned that the heaviest rain in El Salvador will fall on Wednesday, November 4, and Thursday, November 5, although further isolated rain is forecast on Friday, November 6, and over the weekend. Between 125 and 255 mm (5 to 10 in) of rain is forecast over the coming days, with 380 mm (15 in) in some areas. Authorities have ordered schools to close indefinitely as the storm passes and evacuation shelters will be activated.

The heavy rainfall could cause floods and landslides in some areas, along with associated disruptions to transport, businesses, and utilities.

Context

The country's rainy season occurs between June and November, which is also roughly the time period that corresponds to the Atlantic hurricane season; rainfall tends to peak in August and September. Although El Salvador has no Atlantic coastline, the narrow width of Central America at El Salvador's latitude ensures that tropical systems can easily maintain most of their strength while tracking westward into the country from Honduras. Storms tend to flood low-lying areas and cause unsurfaced roads to become temporarily impassable. More organized systems, depending on intensity, can prove catastrophic in terms of tidal surge, wind damage, flooding, and landslides.

Advice

Those in affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, including evacuation orders. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.

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