Hurricane Eta heads to Central America as devastating Cat. 4

Hurricane Eta intensified into a Category 4 storm, packing devastating winds and heavy rains as it pummels Central America.

Eta has maximum sustained winds of 230 kilometres per hour and was located 45 kilometres southeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua as at 7:00 am EST, according to the US-based National Hurricane Center.

Already, there have been reports of roofs being ripped from homes, power lines toppling and rivers overflowing in coastal towns in the Central American nation. Some 10,000 people from Bilwi, a coastal city, were evacuated to shelters while another 10,000 sought refuge in smaller towns across the region, said Guillermo González, director of the country’s emergency management agency.

Storm surge of almost five metres above normal tides is possible for the Nicaraguan coast, forecasters said.

What’s more, heavy rains of between 15 to 25 inches is likely for northern Nicaragua and much of Honduras, with 35 inches possible in isolated areas.

Honduras is being affected by Hurricane Eta which has been hit with torrential rains that have caused rivers to overflow their banks and force evacuations.

Heavy rains are also likely in eastern Guatemala, southern Belize and Jamaica.