*******Note that forecasts and outlooks in this post are NOT the official forecast from the National Hurricane Center (NHC). They are my own detailed views on the Atlantic tropics based on current observations and latest computer model runs. As such do not make decisions based on my posts...consult news media...watches and warnings from your local weather office...and any evacuation orders issued by local governments to make the most informed and best decisions. Visit the NHC website hurricanes.gov (hurricanes dot gov) for the latest watches/warnings and official forecasts on active tropical cyclones.**********
...MONDAY NOVEMBER 16 2020 10:43 AM EDT...
Satellite Image of Hurricane Iota as of 1510Z:
As of 10 AM EDT...the National Hurricane Center has confirmed that Iota is now the latest occuring category 5 hurricane on record for the Atlantic basin. Maximum sustained winds have risen to 160 mph as the central pressure has fallen further to 917 mb. This also marks the first time there have been two major hurricanes (category 3+) in the Atlantic basin in November...with Eta being the other major hurricane. I believe it is also possible that this is the first time on record two major hurricanes will have struck Nicaragua within a two week window...please keep Nicaragua and Honduras in your thoughts as they will need all the international support they can get. The only positive news that can be found is that the thunderstorms have become lopsided to the northwest half of the eye as shown in the above colorized infrared satellite...perhaps an indication Iota is now on the west side of the Caribbean upper ridge cell that previously helped in the explosive intensification...and where some light southeasterly shear may be in progress. Therefore I agree with the 10 AM EDT NHC intensity forecast that Iota should not exceed 165 mph maximum sustained winds before landfall in Nicaragua in the next 24 hours. Even if Iota weakened to a category 4 before landfall due to the light shear and an eye wall replacement cycle...category 4 is still a catastrophic intensity...especially considering Iota will move into infrastructure recently weakened by Hurricane Eta. Interests in Nicaragua and Honduras need to rush preparations for Iota to completion over the next couple of hours as conditions will begin to deteriorate later today. In addition to catastrophic wind and coastal storm surge near the landfall area...the mudslide and flooding potential from heavy rain is also high with Iota due to the slow forecast track that will prolong the rainfall period...and extends to Costa Rica and El Salvador given the size of the storm.