World - Climate 'Bomb' Iota Weakens Slightly off Central America
A slightly weakened Hurricane Iota began whipping a remote coastal area of Nicaragua with catastrophic winds and storm surges on Monday, as the region’s leaders blamed climate change for destructive weather pushing millions closer to hunger.
Iota was due to crash through northeastern Nicaragua’s Miskito region overnight, packing maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour (250 kph).
By 10 p.m. EST, the U.S. National Hurricane Center had downgraded its power to Category 4 from 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is expected to dissipate over Central America on Wednesday, but not without causing serious damage.
Reuters images showed rain spattering the partially flooded beachside city of Puerto Cabezas on Nicaragua’s coast, and wind rattling the roofs of its one-story buildings.
“We’re all scared for our lives,” said Magdalena Bell, who had taken refuge in a shelter in Puerto Cabezas.
Central America and southern Mexico are still reeling from Hurricane Eta, which devastated crops and washed away hillsides after landing near Puerto Cabezas two weeks ago, killing dozens. Many towns are still partially flooded, and the land is waterlogged from the earlier storm.