Travel Alert November 2020: Major Hurricane Eta to Take a Disturbing Path?

If much of Central America is in your travel plans over the next week or so, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to Hurricane Eta, whose landfall is expected to occur somewhere on the northeastern coast of Nicaragua as a major hurricane as soon as early in the morning tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3, 2020 before moving northwest into Honduras towards Belize.

Travel Alert November 2020: Major Hurricane Eta to Take a Disturbing Path?

Hurricane Eta

Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Eta — which is currently centered approximately 85 miles east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the border which Nicaragua shares with Honduras and is moving west at nine miles per hour — are 120 miles per hour, which means that this storm is classified as a Category 3 hurricane; and it is expected to continue to strengthen prior to landfall on the northeastern coast of Nicaragua, which is expected to occur as soon as early in the morning tomorrow, Tuesday, November 3, 2020…

…but two issues have exacerbated this situation: the forward movement of this hurricane has slowed down, which allows it to strengthen further over the warm waters of the western Caribbean Sea — perhaps as a potential Category 4 hurricane — and its predicted path has shifted further to the east, which means that it may emerge once again as a tropical depression over the western Caribbean Sea by as early as Friday morning, November 6, 2020. That could allow it to strengthen once again as it heads northeast towards Cuba — and possibly southern Florida and the Bahamas.

Hurricane Eta has a clearly distinct eye and symmetrical shape, which means that it is well organized and dangerous — and it is forecast to further strengthen before its landfall tomorrow morning. The National Weather Service of the United States repeatedly uses the term life threatening in this official public advisory when describing the storm surge, rough surf, rip currents, and flash flooding in multiple countries.

A hurricane warning is currently in effect for the coast of Nicaragua from the border which Nicaragua shares with Honduras to Sandy Bay Sirpi.

A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for the northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the border which Nicaragua shares with Honduras.

A hurricane watch is currently in effect for the northeastern coast of Honduras from Punta Patuca to the border which Nicaragua shares with Honduras.

A tropical storm watch is currently in effect for the northern coast of Honduras from west of Punta Patuca westward to Punta Castilla.

Much of Honduras and central and northern Nicaragua will be inundated with winds of hurricane force, a storm surge of up to 18 feet, rough surf, and up to 35 inches of rain — and up to 50 inches of rain in higher elevations — over the next 36 hours, which may result in significantly catastrophic flash flooding in low lying areas and landslides in higher terrain.

Additionally, portions of the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Guatemala, southern Haiti, Belize, Panama, southern Cuba, and Costa Rica could experience from three inches of rainfall to as much as 25 inches of rainfall — as well as gusty winds of tropical storm force, rough surf, dangerous rip currents, and rising tide levels — over the next 48 hours. Electrical power outages are certain to occur.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to or from Central America is in your travel plans over the next week or so, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary.

Here are two airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

Summary

The year 2005 was the most active year in recorded history in terms of 27 total named tropical systems, with Tropical Storm Zeta as the last storm of that season. Only one more named storm is needed for the year 2020 to break that record.

I personally believe that the National Weather Service of the United States and other official weather authorities should consider using the letters Q, U, X, Y, and Z to name tropical systems — especially with the inclusion of names which are not common in the United States. Quincy, Ursula, Xavier, Yvonne, and Zachary all come immediately to my mind to name storms which usually do not require those letters during a typical season. Only once the entire alphabet has been exhausted should the characters of the Greek alphabet be used…

…and ironically, the Greek alphabet uses a name which begins with the letter Z. Why not use one of the aforementioned names which begin with the letter Z?

As far as I know, the name of a tropical system after a character of the Greek alphabet has never been retired. What happens if a storm is strong enough to warrant the name being retired and it is named after a character of the Greek alphabet?

Anyway, do not be surprised if more travel alerts are issued by more airlines as what is expected to become Hurricane Eta progresses over the coming days — especially as additional land masses are threatened by this tropical system.

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

BoardingArea