Year's Most Powerful Atlantic Hurricane Hits Land

Hurricane Iota is hitting Nicaragua's coast less than two weeks after another destructive storm struck, BBC reports.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the western eye of the storm had crossed the coast on Monday evening.

It had risen to a category five storm at sea before reaching the coast, with maximum sustained winds of up to 160mph (260km/h).

Nicaragua has been significantly weakened by category four, but it remains risky.

The NHC warned of "catastrophic winds, [a] life-threatening storm surge, and torrential rainfall" in its latest warning.

Iota is the strongest Atlantic hurricane of the year and only the second November hurricane to reach category five - the last was in 1932.

"What's drawing closer is a bomb," President Juan Orlando Hernández of neighbouring Honduras said at an earlier press conference.

Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua evacuated people living in low-lying areas and near rivers in the Atlantic coastal region that Iota is predicted to strike.

The impact of the rains could be especially devastating in areas already drained by Hurricane Eta two weeks ago.

Eta has left at least 200 people dead. The hardest affected area was Guatemala's central region of Alta Verapaz, where mudslides buried dozens of homes in the village of Quejá, with some 100 people presumed dead.

At least 50 deaths were reported elsewhere in Guatemala.


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