MIAMI – Eta, which strengthened overnight to become a hurricane, has increased its power in the last hours and is advancing this Monday through the Caribbean towards Honduras and Nicaragua, the latter country where it will make landfall on Tuesday morning, probably of the “higher” category .
Eta now carries maximum sustained winds of 110 miles per hour and is a Category 2 hurricane but on the verge of becoming a “major” hurricane, that is, with winds starting at 111 miles per hour.
The effect of its winds and rains in Central America can be storm surges, flash floods and landslides, warned the National Hurricane Center (NHC, in English).
At 11 am ET, according to the NHC, Eta was about 115 miles east of Cape Gracias a Dios on the Nicaraguan-Honduras border, and about 140 miles east northeast of Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua.
The hurricane, the twelfth of this season in the Atlantic, was moving at 9 miles per hour in a westerly direction and will continue to do so for the first part of the day.
Then it will make a slow turn towards the west-northwest and will continue in that direction until Tuesday as its winds gain more force in the advance.
According to the trajectory pattern, the center of Eta will approach the northeastern coast of Nicaragua this afternoon and will make landfall at some point between the border with Honduras and Sandy Bay Sirpi in the early morning of Tuesday with the force of a major hurricane (3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale).
In category 3 are hurricanes with winds between 178 and 209 km / h, in category 4 those of 210 to 251 km / h and in category 5 those of 252 km / h and more.
After the impact and the consequent weakening, Eta will remain over northern Nicaragua until early Wednesday morning.
This entire area is under a hurricane warning, but there are other warnings issued by the NHC for the northeast coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the border with Nicaragua and for the northern Honduran coast from Punta Patica west of Punta Castilla.
Hurricane force winds extend up to 25 miles from central Eta and tropical storm winds (weaker) up to 115 miles.
Apart from the wind and rain, which will affect, in addition to Nicaragua and Honduras, parts of Guatemala, Belize, Panama and Costa Rica, Jamaica, southeastern Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti and the Cayman Islands, the largest danger is the storm surge accompanied by strong waves and currents.
The sea can rise up to 18 feet above its normal level in the hurricane warning zone and up to 10 feet in the surrounding area of Honduras.
The waves will affect parts of the Central American coast and the Yucatan peninsula (Mexico) in the coming days.
It is the first time the Eta name has been used since storms are named according to an annual list, meaning 2020 is a record year in the Atlantic.
When the list is exhausted, the letters of the Greek alphabet are used and this has been the case this year until reaching Eta.
So far there have been 28 named tropical storms, of which 12 have been hurricanes, with the whole of November left until the season officially ends.