Beta Batters Nicaragua

October 31, 2005

Hurricane Beta came ashore Saturday on Nicaragua’s Eastern coast about 60 miles (100 kms) south of Puerto Cabezas with winds up to 110 mph (175 km hr). The storm tore the roofs off many buildings, uprooted trees and dumped up to 10 inches (25 cms) of rain on the region, causing floods and mudslides. No deaths have been reported, however.

At one point Beta was a category 3 hurricane, but it rapidly lost most of its force after it made landfall. Miami’s National Hurricane Center has now downgraded Beta to a tropical depression, and has indicated that it is “dissipating.”

The latest bulletin put the storm’s center at about 70 miles (115 kms) east-northeast of Managua, and is moving toward the west near 9 mph (15 km/hr). “A westward to west-south-westward motion is expected during the next 24 hours,” said the NHC. “This would take the remnants of Beta into the eastern north Pacific on Monday.” Maximum sustained winds have decreased to near 25 mph (35 km/hr) with higher gusts.

Beta is the 23rd named storm of the season, and the 13th to reach hurricane strength, breaking the all time record for named storms, set in 1931 with 21. Hurricanes can continue to form in the Atlantic and the Caribbean until the end of November.

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