Eta’s Heavy Rains Threatens Belize & Central America

by Carolee Chanona

Rain-heavy remnants of Hurricane Eta have flooded homes from Panama to Guatemala, as the death toll across Central America rose to at least 57 people. Meanwhile, residents of Belize are observing nationwide flooding as several districts are under a flood warning. The storm that hit Nicaragua as a mighty Category-4 hurricane on Tuesday had become more of a vast tropical rainstorm on Thursday, but it was advancing so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America remains on high alert. Forecasters said the now-tropical depression was expected to regather strength and head towards Cuba and possibly the Gulf of Mexico by early next week.

 Flood Warning in Belize’s Districts of Cayo, Toledo, Belize & Stann Creek

Eta is currently moving north off the coast of Belize and a tropical storm watch is in effect for The Cayman Islands. A turn to the northeast is still expected Friday evening that could continue through early Sunday. The forecast track shows Eta moving across the northwestern Caribbean Sea today, approaching the Cayman Islands Saturday, and be near Cuba Saturday night and Sunday. Although, Eta may head towards Florida later this weekend as a tropical storm, according to a Friday morning update from the National Hurricane Center.

  • Eastern Guatemala and Belize: Generally 10-20 inches, with isolated amounts up to 25 inches.
  • Much of Nicaragua and Honduras: Generally 15-25 inches, with isolated amounts up to 35 inches.
  • Parts of Panama and Costa Rica: Generally 10-15 inches, with isolated amounts up to 25 inches.
  • Jamaica and southeastern Mexico: Generally 5-10 inches, with isolated amounts up to 15 inches.
  • El Salvador, southern Haiti, and the Cayman Islands: Generally 3-5 inches, with isolated amounts up to 10 inches.

A flood warning remains in effect for districts in Belize, specifically Cayo, Belize, Stann Creek and Toledo. Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization reminds motorists that the George Price Highway is closed due to structural compromise. Additionally, all crossings in the Cayo district are flooded or at risk to flood except the main crossings, Hawkesworth bridge and the Santa Elena bypass (new) bridge. As of Friday morning, Eta has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and is moving north at 7 mph.

Header photo of a submerged evangelical church is seen along a flooded street during the passage of Storm Eta, in Pimienta, Honduras November 5, 2020. Photo via REUTERS/Jorge Cabrera. 

Source: National Hurricane Center

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