About 1 1/5 weeks after Hurricane Eta made its catastrophic landfall in Nicaragua, the 2020 Atlantic season now features Tropical Depression 31 which has the same intent as Eta on making a potentially devastating landfall in Central America but this time in Honduras. Preparations should be rushed to completion in this area as this storm will just cause additional devastation to areas still recovering from Eta.
Current Information and Forecast
Tropical Depression 31 is currently located at 14.2 N 74.3 W or about 310 miles (500 Km) SSE of Kingston, Jamaica moving West South-West at 7 mph (11 kph). Winds are currently at 35mph (55kph) with higher gusts and the pressure is at 1007 millibars (29.74 inHg). No Watches and Warnings are in effect, though Hurricane Watches will most likely be need for Honduras and Nicaragua this Afternoon or Evening. Conditions are highly favorable with this storm: wind shear is incredibly low, sea surface temperatures are still very warm and Relative Humidity is very decent. With these factors, Rapid Intensification seems to be on tap once again with the National Hurricane Center forecasting a 110mph Category 2 peak out of this system, though a major hurricane cannot be rules out. However there is a large model spread in the late term forecast with some models taking it into Southern Honduras while others have it aiming for the Yucatan Peninsula. Nevertheless, everyone in these areas should be prepared for potential hurricane conditions.
Overall Threat to Land
Landfall is still relatively far out so it is hard to pin point what conditions will be expected like windspeed and storm surge. But one thing is for sure: rainfall will once again be the main threat. The National Hurricane Center predicts 20-30 inches (508-762mm) rain to fall mainly over Honduras and Nicaragua on top of the 20-30 (508-762mm) that has already fallen from Hurricane Eta. This will cause additional flooding and landslides in areas already flooding. Going off of the current NHC forecast, extensive wind damage is possible at landfall as 110mph winds will cause significant roof and siding damage and will also be able to bring down some trees. The most important thing to stress is that the impacts from this storm aren’t going to do anything but hamper those done by Eta. Take the necessary precautions now as most relief efforts may be undone with this storm. In some areas Eta destroyed the anti-flooding measures in place meaning a second storm will be able to be far more destruction than the first. Stay tuned for more updates and listen to local authorities on what further action to do.