Saturday, 16 January, 2021


150 feared dead in Guatemala as Storm Eta batters Central America

Tropical system Eta could creep into the Gulf by next week, forecasts show | Biloxi Sun Herald Hurricane Eta leaves dozens dead in Central America
Kristine Garrett | 07 November, 2020, 21:27

Eta has crossed the threshold this morning and is once again a tropical storm with winds up to 40 miles per hour, and is now sitting 45 miles to the WNW of Grand Cayman Island.

Photos of the Queja landslide showed a lengthy strip of brown mud peeled from the lush green hillside. "Right now, we're trying to get there on foot because there's no other way".

South Florida should start feeling Eta's continuous tropical-storm-force winds (39 miles per hour and higher) late Sunday night, although some high gusts might make an appearance earlier in the day.

Eta is one of the fiercest storms to hit Central America in years, as experts warn that hurricanes are becoming more powerful and carrying more water due to climate change, posing an increasing threat to the world's coastal communities.

Rescue operations across Honduras and Guatemala have been slowed by destroyed roads and bridges, forcing authorities to draft in the military and use helicopters and speedboats to rescue people stranded on top of their houses.

Munguia had yet to see any rescue boats or any authorities. More than 50,00 were evacuated in Guatemala, officials said.

Tropical system Eta could creep into the Gulf by next week, forecasts show | Biloxi Sun Herald

Eta wrought chaos after ploughing into Nicaragua on Tuesday with 150 miles-per-hour winds and unleashing torrents of rain on isolated and impoverished regions of Honduras and Guatemala. It was downgraded to a tropical depression on Wednesday before entering Honduras, which it left late on Thursday, according to the country's civil protection agency, COPECO.

With another ten reported dead in Honduras and two in Nicaragua, the storm's toll is now more than 160 in just a few days. "The damage will undoubtedly be significant", said Mark Connolly, UNICEF representative in Honduras, who estimated about 1.5 million children there will be affected.

Bad weather has hampered rescue efforts while roads are still blocked and large areas remain flooded.

An army spokesman said it was not the first time disaster had struck the area, which was the scene of a huge landslide a decade ago, that killed dozens. Meanwhile, five people, including three children, died in flooding in Panama's Chiriqui province, near the Costa Rica border, authorities said.

On Friday morning, the eye of the storm was on the edge of Belize's coast and heading out to the Caribbean Sea, charting a course to Cuba and Florida this weekend, the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said.

This rainfall will continue catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with landslides in areas of higher terrain of Central America. It was forecast to spread heavy rain from Central America to southeastern Mexico and from Jamaica to the Cayman Islands. The worst side of any tropical system is the east side, but that will be particularly true with Eta, as the thunderstorms are focused on the east side.

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