Why ETA will be so devastating

People watch the Humuya river flooding due to heavy rains caused by Hurricane Eta in Santa Rita, Yoro Department courtesy CNN

ETA, now a 50-mph tropical storm, continues to move over Nicaragua and Honduras at a slow 7 mph.

Eta moving slowly over Central America courtesy NOAA

That slow movement divided into 100 (my rule of thumb for rainfall) equals 14-15 inches. Sure enough, the official forecast is for 10-20 inches with an isolated 40 inches of rain! We know what that amount of rain is like around here but what we don’t have is MOUNTAINS. Look at this picture of the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa, surrounded by mountains up to 3,200 feet:

Tegucigalpa, Honduras surrounded by mountains, photo courtesy Rob Harlow

That along with the typical one-story architecture (few places to elevate yourself) is a recipe for deadly flooding and mudslides. My prayers are with them as Eta takes the next two days to move through that country.

The storm count so far

Our weather team put these next graphics together. Look at the season’s storm paths so far and you can’t help but think about your childhood Etch-a-Sketch:

A busy 2020 season

We still have not yet set the full hurricane season record with 29 depressions/28 storms as 2005 had 31 depressions/28 storms. However, because 2005 had a couple of unnamed storms, that year’s names did not get to ETA (stopping one short with ZETA). But there is time and the record we HAVE set is the amazing number of actual U.S. landfalls from storms this year:

11 Named Storms making Landfall

Eleven landfalling storms and if you look at the long term forecast for ETA, there is a chance it becomes number twelve in Florida early next week. I find it interesting that with all this activity the Florida Peninsula has so far escaped unscathed. They are the ones usually sitting out there like a duck.

ETA forecasted path

Officially the season ends Nov. 30, but if 2005 taught us anything it is not to look at the calendar -- that year’s ZETA formed Dec. 28 and degenerated Jan. 6!!

Have a safe Wednesday!


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