Hurricane Eta Poses Major Threats As It Passes Through Central America

Adamari Jaimez

Hurricane Eta has flooded homes from Panama to Guatemala as the death toll across Central America rises to at least 57 people. The storm was expected to bring storm surge, catastrophic winds, floods, and landslides.

The slow-moving storm hit Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday, November 3 with winds up to 140 mph at landfall and 190 mph at its core. Eta maxed out the scales for satellite-derived hurricane intensity when it was 75 miles offshore.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration did not sample the storm due to the storm’s peak intensity. It was crucial to observe the powerful storm and determine the exact wind speed, air pressure, direction, and location from a distance in order to keep (hurricane tracking people) safe.

Because meteorologists were without aircraft observations, it was unclear for them to determine if the storm warranted a category 5 ranking.

Along the Honduras Caribbean coast, Eta’s outer bands caused some rivers to overflow, forcing evacuations. More than 2,000 people moved from outer islands and low-lying areas to shelters in small towns.

The storm has now dropped to a tropical depression status with 35 mph winds. Although the storm has weakened, it is expected to linger over other parts of Central America and is posing major threats to the Gulf Coast, especially Florida.

Most of the Florida peninsula including the Tampa Bay area is in the forecast cone of Tropical Storm Eta.

The storm is expected to reemerge over the Caribbean Sea and possibly Cuba by Sunday November 8, and is expected to restrengthen when it hits water once again, but there is still uncertainty of the intensity the storm will reach.

Eta is the 12th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and the 28th storm this season, being the strongest Atlantic hurricane this year since Otto in 2016.  This season tied the 2005 record for most named storms.