Hurricane Iota that made landfall in Central America

#GS1 #GEOGRAPHY #GS3 #ENVIRONMENT

Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua in Central America on Monday night and has developed into a category five storm.

  • Lota was spotted as a tropical depression last week in the Central Caribbean Sea by the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), which is responsible for issuing forecasts for all tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific basins.
  • The Atlantic Hurricane season runs from June to November and covers the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, while the Eastern Pacific Hurricane season runs from May 15 to November 30.

Hurricanes

  • Tropical cyclones or hurricanes use warm, moist air as fuel, and therefore form over warm ocean waters near the equator
  • The warm, moist air rises upward from the surface of the ocean, it creates an area of low air pressure below
  • Air from the surrounding areas rushes to fill this place, eventually rising when it becomes warm and moist too.
  • When the warm air rises and cools off, the moisture forms clouds
  • This system of clouds and winds continues to grow and spin, fueled by the ocean’s heat and the water that evaporates from its surface.
  • As such storm systems rotate faster and faster, an eye forms in the centre.
  • Storms that form towards the north of the equator rotate counterclockwise, while those that form to the south spin clockwise because of the rotation of the Earth.

How severe is Hurricane Iota?

  • Hurricane Iota is a significant storm, and damaging winds and a life-threatening storm surge are expected along portions of the coast of northeastern Nicaragua during the next several hours. 
  • Due to heavy rainfall associated with the storm, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding is expected through Thursday across portions of Central America.
  • Hurricanes are categorised on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which rates them on a scale of 1 to 5 based on wind speed
  • Hurricanes that reach category three or higher are called ‘major hurricanes’ because of their potential to cause devastating damage to life and property.
  • Lota is a category five storm. Significantly, its landfall location near the town of Haulover in Nicaragua is just over 25 km away from where category four hurricane Eta made landfall on November 3, and killed over 140 people across Central America.
  • Therefore, flooding and mudslides across the portions of Honduras, Nicaragua and Gautemala could be exacerbated because of Eta’s recent effects in these areas, “resulting in significant to potentially catastrophic impacts”.
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