Eta upgraded to hurricane; expected to strengthen quickly

Eta was upgraded early today, becoming the 12th hurricane of the season, and is expected to intensify further as it churns through the Caribbean Sea.

Hurricane Eta, the 28th named storm of a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, is expected to strengthen before making landfall in Nicaragua tomorrow.

The storm, which has maximum sustained winds of 150 kilometres per hour, was located about 225 kilometres east of the Nicaragua/Honduras border as at 7:00 am EST, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Up to 25 inches of rain could fall in Nicaragua and Honduras, with life-threatening storm sure, damaging winds, flash flooding and landslides expected across Central America.

Only three other hurricane seasons on record have had at least 12 hurricanes; 1969 (12), 2005 (15) and 2010 (12).

With almost a month left in the hurricane season, which ends November 30, predictions are that other systems could form due to favourable storm conditions.

“The large-scale environment, especially in the Caribbean, is forecast to remain more conducive than normal for this late in the hurricane season,” said Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.