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Tropical Storm Eta targets Central America, ties record for most storms named in a season

The storm is expected to strengthen to a hurricane on Monday and near parts of Honduras and Nicaragua by Tuesday.
Tropical Storm Eta.
Tropical Storm Eta.NOAA

Tropical Storm Eta is barreling towards Central America and has tied this year’s hurricane season with 2005 for the most-named storms formed in the Atlantic in a single year.

Eta, which formed on Saturday in the Caribbean Sea, is traveling west at 15 miles per hour and expected to strengthen, putting parts of Honduras and Nicaragua on watch. The 28th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season is expected to near the two countries’ coasts by Tuesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said in a Sunday briefing.

The storm, forecast to become a hurricane by Monday, currently has maximum winds of 40 mph that are only expected to gain steam.

Parts of Honduras and Nicaragua might see up to 35 inches of rainfall, the hurricane center said, which could cause flash-flooding, river flooding and landslides. Nicaragua issued a hurricane warning from its border with Honduras to Sandy Bay Sirpi, and Honduras has issues a tropical storm warning from Punta Patuca to its border with Nicaragua.

“A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as six to nine feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds along the coast of Nicaragua,” the national hurricane center said. An extra three to five feet in tide levels can be expected on parts of the Honduran coast.

Elsewhere in Central America, parts of eastern Guatemala and southern Belize can expect between ten to 20 inches of rain, with isolated instances of 25 inches. In the Caribbean, Jamaica is facing five to ten inches of rain, and southern Haiti and the Cayman Islands can expect between three to five inches, which isolated amounts of ten inches.

Tropical Storm Eta comes as part of a record-tying hurricane season, which has hit the eastern seaboard of the U.S., the Gulf states, Mexico, parts of Central American and many islands in the Caribbean. Although 2020 rivals 2005 with 28 named storms, this is the first time meteorologists have reached Eta in the Greek alphabet — a storm was determined to have needed a name after the '05 season, but never received one at the time.