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Central America braces as Hurricane Iota becomes Category 5 storm

Hurricane Iota strengthened into a Category 5 storm and will make landfall in Central America by this evening.

This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Iota in the North Atlantic Ocean on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, at 07:11 EST. (NOAA via AP)

Iota is forecast to bring “catastrophic winds, life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall” when it impacts the area still bruising from the effects of Hurricane Eta.

Iota is packing maximum sustained winds of 260 kilometres per hour, and was located 65 kilometres west of Isla De Providencia, Colombia and 160 kilometres east southeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua at 10:00 am ETS, according to the National Hurricane Center.

A pregnant woman is carried out of an area flooded by water brought by Hurricane Eta in Planeta, Honduras, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Delmer Martinez)

On its current path, Hurricane Iota’s core will make landfall within in northeastern Nicaragua tonight and dissipate over Central America by Wednesday.

Iota is the first Category 5 storm of the Atlantic hurricane season which has seen a record-breaking 30 named systems.

Swells from the storm will affect much of the coast of Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula, Jamaica and Colombia over the next couple days, the center said in its 10:00 am advisory.

Hurricane watches have been announced for Providencia, the coast of Nicaragua from Honduras/Nicaragua border to the Sandy Bay Sirpi and the coast of northeastern Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Nicaragua border.

Additionally, tropical storm warnings have been declared for San Andres, the coast of Nicaragua and the northern coat of Honduras from west of Punca Patuca to the Guatemala/Honduras border.