Iota rapidly weakening, leaving Central America with catastrophic damage

WSAV Hurricane Central

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — Iota is rapidly weakening as it approaches San Salvador. While still dumping a lot of rain, it is no longer producing widespread damaging wind. Early Wednesday morning, the storm was downgraded to a tropical depression with 35 mph winds.

When it made landfall Monday night along the northeastern coast of Nicaragua near the town of Haulover, it was a monster category 4 hurricane with 155 mph winds. That is just 2 mph shy of category 5 strength.

Fortunately, Iota will finally start to move away from land later today as a post-tropical system. This was the second landfalling major hurricane to hit the same area of the Nicaragua Coast in less than two weeks.

Iota is the first Category 5 hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season. We’ve had 3 category 4 hurricanes over this season (Laura, Delta, and Eta). Iota is the second-ever category 5 hurricane to form in the month of November since record-keeping began in 1851. The first was Hurricane Camaguey in November 1932.

This was the sixth consecutive year where named storms developed before the official start of hurricane season (Arthur and Bertha) on June 1st. This will also now be the fifth year in a row with Category 5 hurricanes forming: 2016 – Matthew, 2017 – Irma/Maria, 2018 – Michael, 2019 – Dorian/ Lorenzo.

Iota is now the first Greek alphabet name to reach category 5 strength.

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