Hurricane Eta began affecting north-eastern Nicaragua and northern Honduras in the early morning of 3 November following rapid intensification from tropical storm to Category 4 hurricane on 2 November.
Eta is travelling at a slow pace, limiting current information to preliminary reports as national and regional authorities and humanitarian partners await for conditions to allow thorough evaluations.
National authorities and humanitarian partners in countries taking on rains and high winds from Eta and in countries on Eta’s projected path are nevertheless undertaking various preparedness efforts, including prepositioning supplies and personnel.
With Eta’s formation, the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season joins the 2005 season as the busiest ever recorded with 28 storms each.
Hurricane Eta began affecting north-eastern Nicaragua and parts of northern Honduras in the early hours of 3 November, causing heavy rains and high winds as a Category 4 hurricane. Preliminary reports indicate flooding and wind damage as Eta continues its projected westward path over northern Nicaragua. The United States’ National Hurricane Center (NHC) projects that Eta will cross into central Honduras by midday on 4 November and then reach eastern Guatemala and Belize on 5 November at night, passing over northern El Salvador during this time, before turning north-east back out into the Caribbean Sea by 7 November.
Eta’s rapid development from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane just off Central America’s eastern Caribbean shores in under 24 hours on 2 November prompted national and regional authorities to take immediate preparedness and response actions, including preventive evacuations and pre-positioning of supplies. Eta is moving along its path at 7 km/h with sustained winds as high as 230 km/h and causing rains that could accumulate to as much as 635mm in much of Nicaragua and Honduras. NHC forecasts that Eta will weaken as it makes its way inland. Per the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC), there are more than 105,100 people in Nicaragua and Honduras exposed to hurricane winds and 1.1 million people exposed to tropical cyclone levels of rainfall.
National and regional humanitarian counterparts are assessing available resources and capacities for supporting government-led responses should there be any requests for international assistance. Authorities and humanitarian partners alike are nevertheless awaiting Eta to pass and allow for the necessary evaluations on the ground to determine the extent of the damages and corresponding needs.
Eta is the record-tying 28th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, making the 2020 and 2005 seasons the most active on record. Eta is also the strongest storm with a Greek alphabet name ever recorded.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.