The start of the Segunda/Postrera agricultural season in Central America was generally favourable from August through October with above-average rainfall resulting in good crop development.
Crop conditions quickly deteriorated in November across parts of the region impacted by the passing of two Category 4 hurricanes, Hurricanes Eta and Iota (Figure 1).
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has been the most active ever recorded with 30 named storms, more than twice the long-term yearly average of 12, and the only season with two major hurricanes in November. This has resulted in one of the wettest October to November periods since 1981 across parts of Central America.
In early November, Hurricane Eta crossed Central America and affected an estimated 4 million people across the region as persistent rains and heavy winds resulted in flooding, landslides, and crop damage across Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.
Two weeks later on November 17th, Hurricane Iota made landfall over northern Nicaragua as a Category 4 hurricane, the strongest Atlantic hurricane this year, and extended along virtually the same path as Hurricane Eta (Figure 1). While Iota quickly degraded to a tropical depression, persistent rains and high winds exacerbated previous damage from Eta across Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.
Excessive flooding and considerable damage to standing crops (Figure 2) and agricultural infrastructure have significantly decreased yield prospects for the Segunda/Postrera season crops.
According to UN OCHA, as of December 4th, an estimated 7.3 million people have been affected by Eta and Iota across Central America with Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala having the highest affected populations in respective order. Floodwaters have not yet fully receded in some areas, and additional rainfall in December has worsened flooding in parts of Honduras.