For the latest information on storm activity in the Cayman Islands, as well as information on how to prepare for hurricane season, visit Storm Centre.
Watches and warnings
• A small-craft warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands
• A flood warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands
• A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the coast of Nicaragua from the Honduras/Nicaragua border to Sandy Bay Sirpi
• A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the Honduras/Nicaragua border
• A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the coast of Nicaragua from south of Sandy Bay Sirpi to Laguna de Perlas
Hurricane Eta is now a Category 2 storm as it moves inland over northeastern Nicaragua but forecasters continue to warn the “dangerous” system could cause “life-threatening storm surge, catastrophic winds and flash flooding in portions of Central America”.
Eta reached the Nicaraguan coast earlier Tuesday as a Category 4 storm with sustained maximum winds of 140 miles per hour. Those winds have slowed to 110 mph as the system moves inland, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center. Eta is expected to weaken to a tropical storm on Wednesday, according to the NHC.
Residents in the Cayman Islands continue to closely monitor Eta, which is expected to swing north and then north-northeasterly before returning to the Caribbean Sea Thursday night or Friday as a tropical depression. Tracking models from both the NHC and the Cayman Islands National Weather Service have the system potentially crossing the Cayman Islands area as it moves towards Cuba and Florida this weekend.
NHC forecasters, however, have several times said it’s hard to predict what the storm will do once it returns to the Caribbean.
“There is still significant spread among the various global (tracking) models… which results in a higher than normal level of uncertainty regarding the details of the track and intensity forecast,” according to the NHC’s 4pm discussion on Eta.
The NWS, in its 10pm update, said “there is still some uncertainty of the track” but now is shifting its forecast for the system a bit westward and away from the Cayman Islands.
A flood warning and small-craft warning are in effect in the Cayman Islands. NWS forecasters earlier today said Cayman can expect up to three-and-a-half inches of rain Wednesday, 2 to 4 inches Thursday and 1 to 3 inches Friday.
Residents in the Cayman Islands can expect heavy showers, moderate-to-fresh winds and rough seas “over the next few days”, according to the NWS. There were sometimes locally heavy showers throughout Tuesday.
Hurricane Eta slams Central America, causes deadly mudslides, strands fishermen
MANAGUA (Reuters) – Hurricane Eta ripped roofs from homes, unleashed major flooding and caused landslides as it battered the coastline of Nicaragua and neighbouring Honduras on Tuesday, reportedly killing at least three people and putting dozens of fishermen in peril.
Eta, one of the most powerful storms to hit Central America in years, battered roads and bridges in Honduras. Hundreds of people were evacuated.
Barreling ashore south of the port of Puerto Cabezas, Eta was expected to cause “catastrophic” wind damage as the eye of the storm moved inland along the northeastern coast of Nicaragua, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Nicaraguan media reported that two artisanal miners were killed by a mudslide. In Honduras, a 13-year-old girl died in a landslide on her home, the fire department said.
Meanwhile, about 60 fishermen were trapped and in danger in the eastern Mosquitia region of Honduras, according to Robin Morales, a representative of the local population.
The fishermen “remain adrift at sea shouting for help”, Morales said, adding that a Honduran Navy official told him it was currently too dangerous to mount a rescue operation.
“If they aren’t rescued, I don’t think these people will remain alive for more than 24 hours,” Morales said.
By early Tuesday, Eta had knocked down trees and power lines and caused serious flooding in northeast Nicaragua, disaster management agency SINAPRED said. Still, Vice President Rosario Murillo said the initial damage had been less than feared.
“We’re really afraid, there are fallen poles, there’s flooding, roofs torn off, some of the zinc on my house fell off,” said Carmen Enriquez, a resident of Puerto Cabezas.
The indigenous regions in northern Nicaragua are some of the country’s poorest. Many people live in homes made of wood and adobe that are ill-equipped to withstand such a powerful storm.
Earlier, Javier Plat, a Catholic priest, had said there was a citywide power outage in Puerto Cabezas and government-arranged shelters had reached capacity.
Around 1,227,000 people in Nicaragua, including nearly 500,000 children, were at risk from the storm’s fury, the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF said in a statement.
Nicaragua on Monday evacuated at least 3,000 families, including fishermen who live in the most vulnerable villages.
In Honduras, rivers burst their banks, towns and cities on the Atlantic coast flooded, and landslides hit roads.
Eta is forecast to move into northern Nicaragua through Wednesday afternoon and hit central Honduras on Thursday.
Forecasting models then show it snaking back out into the Caribbean over Cuba as a tropical storm toward the end of the week and approaching the tip of the Florida panhandle on Sunday.
Flash and river flooding are also possible in Jamaica, southeast Mexico, El Salvador, southern Haiti and the Cayman Islands, the NHC said.
(Reporting by Oswaldo Rivas, Ismael Lopez, Nelson Renteria and Gustavo Palencia; Writing by Dave Graham and Drazen Jorgic; Editing by David Gregorio, Sandra Maler and Grant McCool)