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.
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 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
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.
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