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16 Nov 2020 | 03:13 AM UTC

Hundreds evacuated from coastal communities ahead of arrival of Hurricane Iota November 15

Hundreds evacuated from coastal communities ahead of arrival of Hurricane Iota November 15; monitor weather updates and heed official directives

environment
transportation
NIC

Event

Government officials announced that more than 1500 people were evacuated from coastal communities in the northeast of the country on Sunday, November 15, ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Iota. The evacuations included the Cayos Miquitos archipelago, but many coastal communities remain difficult to reach as they continue to recover from the passage of Hurricane Eta earlier in November.

In its latest update on Iota at 01:00 (EST) on Monday, November 16, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported the storm as being located 70km (45 miles) east-north-east of Isla de Providencia, moving west at 17kph (10mph). As forecast, Hurricane Iota has strengthened significantly over the Caribbean Sea, with sustained wind speeds of 200kph (125mph), and is expected to strengthen further into a category 4 storm before making landfall in northern Nicaragua late on Monday evening. A hurricane warning is in effect for coastal areas of Nicaragua from Sandy Bay Sirpi to the border with Honduras. A tropical storm warning has also been issued for areas between Sandy Bay Sirpi and Bluefields.

Hurricane conditions are likely to cause wind damage, flooding, and landslides in northeastern Nicaragua from Monday until Thursday, November 19, along with associated disruptions to transport, businesses, and utilities.

Context

Nicaragua is semi-regularly affected by tropical storm systems, which can approach from its Caribbean coast from June through November. These storms can be particularly devastating for rural areas, many of which have suffered catastrophic damage from winds and flooding in the past.

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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