Late Season Hurricane Hits Nicaragua

November 6, 2009

According to catastrophe risk modeling firm AIR Worldwide and the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Hurricane Ida made landfall in eastern Nicaragua on Thursday morning, causing damage to homes and knocking out power to islands off the country’s coast on its approach.

The NHC’s 10:00 EST advisory on Thursday rated Ida as a late season Category 1 storm, which formed on Wednesday in the southwestern Caribbean and quickly strengthened. When the bulletin was issued it was about 75 miles (120 kms) north of Bluefields, Nicaragua’s chief Caribbean port, tracking northwest at 6 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were 75 mph[120 kph].

According to the NHC’s latest bulletin, issued at 4:00 AM EST, Ida is weakening into a tropical storm/depression as it moves inland towards the border with Honduras.

Although winds are now around 35 mph (56 kph), the NHC warned of “total rainfall accumulations of 5 to 7 inches [12.7 to 17.8 cms] along the coasts of eastern Honduras and Nicaragua, and the islands off the coast of Nicaragua with maximum amounts of 12 inches [30.5 cms] possible. Maximum rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches [38.1 to 51 cms] are possible over regions of elevated terrain in Honduras and Nicaragua. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.”

Dr. Tim Doggett, principal scientist at AIR Worldwide, noted that “Ida’s very slow forward speed makes it a significant flood threat.” He added that “once Ida returns to open waters in the northwest Caribbean, it may redevelop, possibly reaching weak tropical storm status by Tuesday, at which time it would be in or near the Southern Gulf of Mexico.”

Sources: National Hurricane Center – and AIR Worldwide –

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