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Hurricane Iota has brought torrential rains and strong winds to Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, two weeks after another devastating storm hit.

Iota made landfall as a category four storm near the town of Puerto Cabezas, where patients had to be evacuated from a makeshift hospital after its roof was ripped off.

Residents are in shelters, and there are fears of food shortages.

Iota has weakened and Honduras is expected to be hit on November 17.

According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Iota was now a category two storm, but warned it could bring life-threatening storm surges, catastrophic winds, flash flooding and landslides.

The hurricane struck Nicaragua on November 16 with sustained winds of nearly 155mph , the NHC said. It strengthened at sea to a category five storm but it weakened as it made landfall.

In Puerto Cabezas, also known as Bilwi, Iota damaged wooden homes, flooded streets and cut off electricity. Residents said the wind ripped away the roofs of houses “like they were made of cardboard”.

There were no immediate reports of casualties. Nicaraguan officials said around 40,000 people had been evacuated from areas in the storm’s path.

“[Iota] is the strongest hurricane that has touched Nicaraguan soil since records began,” said Marcio Baca, director of the Nicaraguan Institute of Earth Studies.

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Hurricane Iota is forecast to move inland across the country before hitting southern Honduras. The effect of the rains could be particularly devastating in areas already drenched by Hurricane Eta. Iota made landfall just 15 miles south of where Eta hit on November 3.

In Honduras, officials said at least 50,000 people had been removed from high-risk areas. Speaking at a news conference on November 16, President Juan Orlando Hernández warned: “What’s drawing closer is a bomb.”

Before reaching Central America the storm moved past the Colombian island of Providencia in the Caribbean, cutting off electricity and killing at least one person, officials said.

Colombian President Iván Duque said 98% of the infrastructure in Providencia, home to around 5,000 people, had been damaged.

Iota is the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the year and only the second November hurricane to reach category five – the last was in 1932.


Hurricane Maria takes aim at Caribbean Islands devastated by Hurricane Irma just days ago.

Maria, now a category one hurricane, is expected to become a dangerous major hurricane as it nears the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.

It will rapidly strengthen over the next 48 hours and will hit the islands on September 18, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.

Hurricane Maria is moving roughly along the same path as Irma.

Warnings have been issued for Guadeloupe, Dominica, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat and Martinique.

A hurricane watch is now in effect for the US and British Virgin Islands, St Martin, St Barts, Saba, St Eustatius and Anguilla.

Some of these islands are still recovering after being hit by category 5 Hurricane Irma, which left at least 37 people dead and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage.

In its latest update, the NHC says Maria has maximum sustained winds of 85mph.

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Maria’s eye is 140 miles north-east of Barbados, and Maria is moving west-northwest at about 13mph.

The NHC says: “On the forecast track, the centre of Maria will move across the Leeward Islands late Monday and Monday night and then over the extreme north-eastern Caribbean Sea Tuesday and Tuesday night.”

The most southerly point of the Leeward Islands – where Maria will first strike – include Antigua and Barbuda. The latter island was evacuated after being devastated by Irma.

The NHC says that “a dangerous storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves will raise water levels by as much as 5-7ft above normal tide levels near where the centre of Maria moves across the Leeward Islands”.

It also forecasts a maximum potential rainfall of 20in across the central and southern Leeward Islands – including Puerto Rico and the US and British Virgin Islands – through to Wednesday night.

“Rainfall on all of these islands could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” it warned.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Irma left more than two-thirds of homes on the Dutch side of the island of St Martin (known as Sint Maarten) uninhabitable, with no electricity, gas or drinking water.

The French government has said its side of St Martin – known as Saint-Martin – sustained about €1.2 billion ($1.44 billion) in damage, with nine deaths across Saint-Martin and nearby St Barts.

On the British Virgin Islands, entire neighborhoods were flattened.

After a visit to the area, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson described the damage as something “you see in images of from the First World War”.

Virgin boss Richard Branson, who has a home in the Virgin Islands, has been tweeting ahead of the storm’s predicted arrival, warning people to stay safe.

Hurricane Irma also hit the US, with 11 deaths being linked to the hurricane. Nearly 6.9 million homes were left without power in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Alabama.

A second hurricane, Jose, is also active in the Atlantic, with maximum sustained winds of 90mph.

The center of the storm was about 335 miles south-east of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, the NHC said in its advisory on September 17.

Tropical storm watches have been issued for parts of the north-eastern US.


Hurricane Irma has been upgraded to a category 5, making it “extremely dangerous” as it crosses the Caribbean.

Category 5 is the highest category for a storm, according to US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Irma has sustained winds of up to 175mph, the NHC said, advising islands in its path to speed up preparations.

The hurricane is projected to bring storm surges, life-threatening winds and torrential rainfall to the Leeward Islands.

Florida, where it is due to arrive on September 10, has declared an emergency.

Residents in two other states, Texas and Louisiana, are reeling from the effects of Hurricane Harvey, which struck as a category 4 storm, causing heavy rain and destroying thousands of homes.

However the NHC warned that it was too early to forecast Hurricane Irma’s exact path or effects on the continental US.

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Hurricane Irma, which has been moving at a speed of 14mph, is set to reach the Leeward Islands, east of Puerto Rico, within the next 24 hours, the NHC said.

The NHC issued a hurricane warning for the following islands:

  • Antigua, Barbuda, Anguilla, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis
  • Saba, St Eustatius and Sint Maarten
  • Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy
  • The British Virgin Islands
  • The US Virgin Islands
  • Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra

Guadeloupe and the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti, are on hurricane watch.

According to the NHC, rainfall of up to 12in may occur in some northern areas and water levels may rise by up to 12ft above normal levels.

Puerto Rico has declared a state of emergency and activated the National Guard.

Governor Ricardo Rossello announced the opening of emergency shelters able to house up to 62,000 people, and schools would be closed on September 5.

Long queues of people formed in shops, with residents stocking up on water, food, batteries, generators and other supplies.


Hurricane Patricia still poses a threat of floods and landslides as it brings heavy rain to parts of Mexico, President Enrique Pena Nieto has warned.

President Enrique Pena Nieto said Hurricane Patricia – the strongest storm recorded in the Americas – had so far caused less damage than feared.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Hurricane Patricia hit as a Category Five storm – the highest classification.

The hurricane has since been downgraded to a Category Two tropical storm.

The storm touched down in western Mexico on October 23, bringing destructive winds and rain, but heavy damage appears to have been avoided.

The NHC said winds had decreased to 100 mph as Hurricane Patricia weakened over land.

While still over the ocean, Patricia had winds of 200 mph at its peak, which made it the most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the Western hemisphere.

Thousands of residents and tourists on Mexico’s Pacific coast were evacuated and moved inland.Hurricane Patricia Mexico

Hurricane Patricia is now moving north-northeastward inland over northern Mexico.

The states of Nayarit, Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero are in particular danger from the high rainfall expected on October 24, the center says.

Total rainfall of 8 to 12 inches is “likely to produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” it added.

“The first reports confirm that the damage has been smaller than that corresponding to a hurricane of this magnitude,” President Enrique Pena Nieto said in a TV address.

Mexican federal police said only “minor landslides and fallen trees” had so far been reported in Colima.

However, the Mexican government has warned that ash from the Colima volcano, which has become increasingly active this year, could combine with heavy rainfall to trigger huge mudflows.

Some 400,000 people live in vulnerable areas, according to Mexico’s National Disaster Fund.

Hurricane Patricia reached land in the Cuixmala area of the western Jalisco state, some 55 miles from the port city of Manzanillo.

The NHC said Patricia hit the coast with winds of 165mph.

At one point before landfall, the hurricane’s winds had been strong enough “to get a plane in the air and keep it flying”, World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman Claire Nullis said.

Video filmed in the port city of Manzanillo shortly before the hurricane struck showed trees bending in severe wind.

Residents had stocked up on food and other supplies, while shop owners boarded up windows.

Jalisco is home to the resort town of Puerto Vallarta, which appeared to have escaped the worst of the storm.

Police patrols in the resort urged people to leave the shorefront for safer areas at least three blocks inland, while loudspeakers ordered hotel residents to evacuate.

Puerto Vallarta airport, along with two others in the path of the storm, were closed.


Hurricane Joaquin has strengthened into a Category 3 storm as it nears the Bahamas, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says.

The eye of the storm is expected to pass over eastern islands of the Bahamas overnight.

A hurricane warning is in effect for much of Bahamas that could see winds of up to 115mph.

The NHC says hurricane Joaquin, the third of the Atlantic season, could affect the US East Coast by October 4.

Photo ABC News

Photo ABC News

It warned that Joaquin “could become a major hurricane” by October 2. It picked up considerable strength on September 29, after being upgraded from a storm to a category 3 hurricane, on a scale of five, in only a few hours.

Geoffrey Greene, a senior forecaster with the Bahamas Meteorology Department, said he was “very concerned” about some of the smaller islands in Joaquin’s path, such as San Salvador, Rum Cay and Cat Island, which all have small populations.

Officials in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, states badly affected by Superstorm Sandy in 2012, warned residents should begin making preparations.

Virginia’s Governor, Terry McAuliffe, has declared a state of emergency in response to heavy flooding earlier in the week, and because of what he called “a serious threat to life and property” from Joaquin.

A White House spokesman said the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was following the progress of Joaquin and preparing in case it made landfall in the US.

Hurricane Fred has hit the island nation of Cape Verde, off the coast of West Africa with winds of up to 85mph.

Cape Verde’s government has grounded all flights until further notice.

No hurricane has ever been recorded further east in the tropical Atlantic.Hurricane Fred Cape Verde 2015

A hurricane warning has been issued by the US-based National Hurricane Center (NHC), which predicts coastal flooding due to strong wind and heavy rains from Monday and overnight into Tuesday.

The NHC says the last time a hurricane was recorded hitting Cape Verde was 1892, although it cautions that records were less exact before the advent of weather satellites in the mid-1960s.

Hurricane conditions are occurring in islands in north-eastern Cape Verde, with northern and north-western islands due to be hit if the hurricane holds its current course, it adds.

The NHC has warned of flash flooding and mudslides as the storm moves across the islands.

Hurricane Fred is forecast to gradually weaken from Tuesday onwards, and will not affect other West African countries.

Cape Verde consists of 10 significant volcanic islands, nine of which are inhabited.