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Iota to hit Central America as hurricane

Tropical Storm Iota should strengthen into a major hurricane by the time it smashes into the jungles of the Miskito Coast of Nicaragua and Honduras on Monday, a region still recovering from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Eta.

The record-breaking 30th storm of the Atlantic hurricane season formed on Friday afternoon, and the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) says it could blow winds up to 193mk/h when it collides with Central America, two weeks after Eta battered the area.

“Flooding and landslides from heavy rainfall could be significant across Central America given recovery efforts underway after Hurricane Eta,” the NHC said.

Eta sparked floods and mudslides that killed scores of people across a huge swathe of terrain stretching from Panama to southern Mexico.

On Friday afternoon (0800 on Saturday AEDT), Iota was about 539km south-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, packing maximum sustained winds of 64km/h and moving west-southwest at 5km/h.

Dangerous winds, rising sea levels and downpours could menace the coast of Nicaragua and Honduras from Sunday night, the Miami-based NHC said.

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