MEXICO CITY—Central America prepared Monday for a battering from Hurricane Iota, the second major storm in two weeks to threaten the region, which is still reeling from the devastation left by Hurricane Eta.
Hurricane Iota strengthened to a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds near 160 miles an hour around 10 a.m. EST, and is likely to remain at that category before making landfall Monday night in northeastern Nicaragua, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The center of the storm was located 100 miles from the Caribbean port of Puerto Cabezas.
“Flooding and mudslides in Honduras and Nicaragua could be exacerbated by Hurricane Eta’s recent effects there, resulting in significant to potentially catastrophic impacts,” the hurricane center said.
Countries in the region are still immersed in rescue and cleanup efforts from Hurricane Eta, with hundreds of people still awaiting help. The latest storm will complicate rescue operations and the arrival of humanitarian aid, local authorities said.