Updated Nov 17, 2020 - Science

Most powerful Atlantic hurricane of 2020 makes landfall in Nicaragua

Hurricane Iota satellite image.
Photo: NOAA

Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua late Monday as an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm, packing maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, per the National Hurricane Center.

Why it matters: The storm is the most powerful of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, with "life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds, flash flooding, and landslides expected across portions of Central America," the NHC said.

  • Iota made landfall near the town of Haulover, some 15 miles south of where the distractive Hurricane Eta also struck as a Category 4 hurricane on Nov. 3.

The big picture: Iota is the 13th hurricane of the 2020 hurricane season and was earlier Monday the first Category 5 storm of this year's record-setting Atlantic hurricane season before weakening slightly.

  • More Atlantic storms could see similar rapid expansion as seas warm because of climate change, the Washington Post notes. Typical seasons produce five or six named hurricanes.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with details of developments in Nicaragua.

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