HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) – As of 6 p.m. Monday, Eta has strengthened into a powerful category four hurricane and is headed directly toward Nicaragua. Winds within the storm are at 150 mph.
Hurricane hunters have taken off from Biloxi, MS and are en route to the center of Eta to get a better understanding of the strength of the storm.
Catastrophic wind damage and heavy rainfall are expected across portions of central America.
Not only does Central America have to brace for life threatening flash flooding and storm surge, landslides will also be a hazard in areas with higher terrain.
According to the National Hurricane Center, water levels could reach as high as 12 to 18 feet above normal tide levels along the coast.
Even though Hurricane Eta is still over open water, local media outlets in in Central America are already reporting flooding in coastal cities in Honduras.
The latest track from the National Hurricane Center has Eta maintaining category 4 intensity prior to landfall. Landfall on the Nicaraguan coast is expected early Tuesday morning.
Eta will quickly weaken into a tropical storm by Wednesday morning, however, widespread rain will continue to be a factor from Nicaragua, Honduras, and portions of southeast Mexico.
Folks along the Gulf of Mexico and southeastern U.S will need to keep their eyes on this tropical system as weather models are suggesting that the remnants of this storm will head back over open water.
Eta is the the 28th storm for the 2020 hurricane season, tying the 2005 hurricane season. The last official day of hurricane season is November 30.