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

Travel Alert November 2020: Tropical Storm Iota Breaks All-Time Weather Record

As if there was an iota of any doubt to the veracity of the hurricane season of what will be part of the unusually memorable year known as 2020, Tropical Storm Iota has formed in the central Caribbean Sea — and its sights are set for landfall in an area which has already experienced more than its fair share of tropical weather systems.

Travel Alert November 2020: Tropical Storm Iota Breaks All-Time Weather Record

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

Maximum sustained winds of Tropical Storm Iota — which is currently centered approximately 335 miles south southeast of Kingston in Jamaica and is moving west southwest at three miles per hour — are 40 miles per hour, which means that this storm is officially classified as a minimal tropical storm; and to the detriment of the citizens of both Nicaragua and Honduras, it is forecast to strengthen to become a major hurricane by the time landfall occurs sometime as early as Monday afternoon, November 16, 2020…

…and that is expected to occur at almost exactly the same location as where the landfall of Hurricane Eta occurred as a major Category 4 hurricane on Tuesday, November 3, 2020 shortly after noon — in Bilwi in Puerto Cabezas, which is located on the northeastern coast of Nicaragua before it moved northwest into Honduras towards Guatemala and Belize. Many areas of several countries in Central America were devastated and are still recovering.

At least 200 people died from what was Hurricane Eta when it was a Category 4 hurricane — 57 of those deaths occurred in Honduras alone — and at least 100 people are still missing in Central America, with hundreds more evacuated from their homes. Approximately 150 houses in Guatemala were buried; and searches for missing people were discontinued in that country.


If you are traveling to or from Central America 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. However, no airlines have issued travel alerts yet as a result of this tropical weather system at the time this article was written — but they likely will do so.

The year 2020 is now the most active year in recorded history in terms of 30 total named tropical systems because of Tropical Storm Iota.

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

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