Reports of Etta’s catastrophic damage from rain, wind and flooding in Nicaragua and Honduras have begun to roll in, but residents there have only a few days to examine the full extent of the impact.
Despite this weakening, the NHC said the storm will continue in the region for days to come, bringing “catastrophic, life-threatening flash floods, river floods and landslides”.
Later this week, the storm is expected to reappear in the Caribbean Sea and move over Cuba by Sunday. That means that over the weekend, Etta could threaten the southeastern United States – especially Florida, which is in the throes of a storm forecast.
It is expected to strengthen again when the Etta hits the water again, but there is still uncertainty about the magnitude of the intensity it will reach, says CNN meteorologist Michael Guy.
The ground was flooded and the roofs were torn
Reuters quoted Guillermo Gonzalez, head of the nation’s disaster management organization, as saying the storm was pulling roofs off homes, removing trees and electrical connections and causing flooding in Puerto Cabasos, one of Nicaragua’s poorest regions.
“We are very scared, there are fallen poles, there is flooding, the roofs are torn,” said Carmen Enriquez, a resident of Puerto Cabos.
A local priest told the news agency that the city had previously had no power and was capable of government camps.
In the north, houses were also flooded in Lancetilla, Honduras. Rivers are overflowing, cities and towns are flooded, and landslides in Honduras cover roads, Reuters reports.
A hurricane warning was in effect for about 150 miles of the Nicaraguan coast from the Honduras / Nicaraguan border to Sandy Bay Sirby on the Caribbean coast of south-eastern central Nicaragua. The NHC says Honduras is no longer under hurricane warning but under tropical storm warning.
According to UNICEF, nearly half a million of the more than 1.2 million people affected by the storm are children, and the company said in a statement that it has developed a plan to respond to the needs of children and families by keeping emergency supplies.
Rainfall can lead to life-threatening conditions
The NHC said the storm could present life-threatening conditions for Nicaragua and other Central American countries, including more than 3 feet of rain in isolated areas of Nicaragua and Honduras this week.
“This rainfall can lead to catastrophic, life-threatening flash floods and river flooding, as well as landslides in the highlands of Central America,” the NHC said.
Rain forecast for Sunday morning, according to the NHC:
Nic Nicaragua and most of Honduras: Typically, 15-25 inches, isolated size up to 40 inches.
• East Guatemala and Belize: Typically, 10-20 inches, isolated size up to 25 inches.
Parts of Pan Panama and Costa Rica: Typically, 10-15 inches, isolated size up to 25 inches.
El Salvador and Southeast Mexico: Typically, 5-10 inches, isolated size up to 15 inches.
Jamaica, southern Haiti, and the Cayman Islands: Typically, 3-5 extra inches, isolated storm total 15 inches.
This is the 28th hurricane named in the Atlantic this season, linking the number of hurricanes named in a season set in 2005.
CNN’s Jason Hannah, Theresa Waltrobe, Michael Guy, Taylor Ward and Tyler Maldin contributed to the report.