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Iota's devastation comes into focus in storm-weary Nicaragua

Iota's devastation comes into focus in storm-weary Nicaragua
Posted at 11:07 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 23:07:26-05

MACIZO DE PEÑAS BLANCAS, Nicaragua (AP) — The devastation caused by Hurricane Iota is becoming clear as communications are restored after the second Category 4 hurricane in two weeks to blast Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast.

The official death toll rose to 16 in Nicaragua with victims swept away by swollen rivers or buried in landslides. Iota struck Monday evening as a Category 4 hurricane, hitting nearly the same location as Hurricane Eta two weeks earlier.

By early Wednesday, Iota had dissipated over El Salvador. But the storm’s torrential rains remain a threat.

Iota came ashore along almost exactly the same stretch of Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast that was devastated by an equally powerful Hurricane Eta just 13 days earlier.

Iota had intensified into an extremely dangerous Category 5 storm during the day Monday, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center says it weakened slightly as it neared the coast late Monday and made landfall with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph (250 kph).

Eta’s torrential rains saturated the soil in the region, meaning Iota's rains have nowhere to go and could cause deadly landslides.