Hurricane Iota satellite image
Infrared satellite image of Hurricane Iota at 10:50 a.m. EST November 15, 2020. (Image credit: NOAA GOES Image Viewer)

Hurricane Iota overnight intensified into a formidable hurricane over the waters of the southwest Caribbean, and is expected to continue to rapidly intensify Sunday though Monday, becoming a catastrophic major hurricane that will make landfall near the Nicaragua/Honduras border on Monday night. Iota will likely bring catastrophic rains of 8-16 inches, with isolated amounts of 20-30 inches, to portions of Central America still recovering from devastating Hurricane Eta, which hit northern Nicaragua as a category 4 storm with 140 mph winds on November 3.

Jeff Ernst, a freelance journalist based in Honduras who’s covering the hurricanes and their aftermath on the ground for The Guardian and other outlets, expressed in an email his concerns that that nation is unprepared for another megastorm like Iota. “I’m worried that many levees have been destroyed, dams are at capacity, and there is still a lot of standing water that’s up to the rooftops in spots,” he wrote. “I would think because of those factors it would take less water than during Hurricane Eta to do as much or more damage – though Iota will flood some of the places that are already destroyed.” Damage estimates for Eta’s impact on Honduras are as high as $5 billion – over 20% of the nation’s GDP.

Ernst wrote a Sunday morning article in The Guardian on the threat climate change poses to Central America, including the potential for more severe hurricanes.

10 rapidly intensifying Atlantic storms in 2020 tie record

Iota is the tenth 2020 Atlantic named storm to rapidly intensify by at least 35 mph in 24 hours; six out of the last seven “Greek” named storms have rapidly intensified, with only Theta missing the mark:

Hurricane Hanna, July 24–25, 35 mph in 24 hours;
Hurricane Laura, August 26–27, 65 mph in 24 hours;
Hurricane Sally, September 14–15, 40 mph in 24 hours;
Hurricane Teddy, September 17–18, 45 mph in 24 hours;
Tropical Storm Gamma, October 2-3, 35 mph in 24 hours;
Hurricane Delta, October 5–6, 80 mph in 24 hours;
Hurricane Epsilon, October 20–21, 50 mph in 24 hours;
Hurricane Zeta, October 27-28, 45 mph in 24 hours;
Hurricane Eta, November 1-2, 70 mph in 24 hours; and
Hurricane Iota, November 14-15, 50 mph in 24 hours.

According to statistics compiled by Tomer Berg, only in 1995 had 10 rapidly intensifying Atlantic storms occurred in a single year.

Iota is the 13th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, putting this year behind only 2005, which had 15 hurricanes, for most hurricanes in a season. If Iota becomes a major hurricane, 2020 would be the first Atlantic hurricane season ever to record two major hurricanes in November. Hurricane Eta was the other major hurricane of November.

Figure 1
Figure 1. Track forecasts out to five days for Iota from the 6Z (1 a.m. EST) Sunday, November 15, run of the GFS ensemble model (GEFS). The black line is the mean of the 31 ensemble members; individual ensemble member forecasts are the thin lines, color-coded by the central pressure they predict for Iota, which is expected to make landfall in northeastern Nicaragua near the Honduras border, and move inland over Central America. (Image credit: Tropical Tidbits)

At 10 a.m. EST Sunday, Iota was 335 miles east-southeast of the Nicaragua/Honduras border, headed west-northwest at 9 mph. Iota at that point was a high-end category 1 hurricane with top winds of 90 mph, and a central pressure of 978 mb. An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter Aircraft was en route to Iota late Sunday morning to provide a detailed assessment of the hurricane’s strength.

Satellite imagery early Sunday afternoon showed Iota was an impressive and rapidly intensifying hurricane, with an eye surrounded by a solid eyewall with heavy thunderstorms having very cold cloud tops. Upper-level outflow was good to excellent in all quadrants, and was steadily expanding.

Track forecast for Iota

The track forecast for Iota is straightforward. A ridge of high pressure to Iota’s north will force the hurricane on a westerly to west-northwesterly track at 7-10 mph until landfall occurs near the Nicaragua/Honduras border on Monday night. At that point, steering currents are predicted to shift, putting Iota on a more westerly to west-southwesterly path deep into Central America. Dissipation is expected to occur about two days after landfall, when Iota will be over El Salvador, near the Pacific coast. Iota is not expected to regenerate over the Pacific Ocean, and there is no model support indicating that Iota might move northward into the Gulf of Mexico and threaten the U.S., as so many other storms this year have done.

Figure 2
Figure 2. Predicted wind speed (colors) and sea level pressure (black lines) for Iota at 1 a.m. EST (6Z) Tuesday, November 17, from the 1 a.m. (6Z) Sunday, November 15, run of the HWRF model. The model predicted Iota would be approaching landfall near the Nicaragua/Honduras border as a high-end category 3 hurricane with 125 mph winds and a central pressure of 946 mb. (Image credit: Tropical Tidbits)

Intensity forecast for Iota

The intensity forecast from the National Hurricane Center at 10 a.m. EST Sunday continued to be aggressive, calling for Iota to rapidly intensify from 90 mph to 140 mph winds in just 36 hours.

Figure 3
Figure 3. Predicted six-day rainfall ending at 7 p.m. EST Friday, November 20, from the 7 p.m. EST Saturday, November 14, run of the GFS model. The model predicted that Iota would dump widespread rainfall amounts in excess of five inches (orange colors) to portions of the Caribbean, with over 20 inches (pink colors) falling in northern Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. (Image credit: NOAA/AOML)

Conditions for development will be very favorable for development through landfall, with the SHIPS model predicting light wind shear less than 10 knots, warm sea surface temperatures of 28.5-29 degrees Celsius (83-84°F), and a moist atmosphere with a mid-level relative humidity of 70%. The 12Z Sunday SHIPS model gave a 46% chance that Iota would follow the NHC intensity forecast and become a category 4 hurricane with 135 mph winds within 36 hours – 10 times the climatological mean odds. The model gave a 22% chance that Iota would become a category 5 hurricane with 160 mph winds within 72 hours.

These conditions are very similar to what Hurricane Eta experienced while rapidly intensifying as it approached landfall in Nicaragua nearly two weeks ago. Although Iota will be passing over the same part of the Caribbean traversed by Eta, the sea surface temperature has not cooled much, remaining about 0.5°C above average.

Typhoon Vamco makes landfall in typhoon-weary Vietnam

Typhoon Vamco made landfall near 6Z (1 a.m. EST) Sunday, November 15, in northern Vietnam. Vamco was a category 1 storm with 80 mph winds at landfall, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. Vamco is the 10th landfall of a tropical cyclone in Vietnam in 2020, as classified by the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Vamco on Wednesday had hit the Philippines as a category 2 storm with 110 mph winds, killing at least 67 people.

Lillo tweet

Theta, now post-tropical, dies

Tropical Storm Theta became post-tropical on Sunday over the waters about 670 miles southeast of the Azores Islands, as a result of dry air, high wind shear, and cold waters. Before Theta expired, it reached the most easterly location ever recorded for a named storm in the Atlantic so late in the year (see Tweet by Sam Lillo).

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Posted on November 15, 2020(12:30pm EST).

Topics: Weather Extremes
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Skyepony
12 days ago

Iota 918mb 160mph
comment image?w=600&h=426

Diablo Flaco
Diablo Flaco
12 days ago

Between Eta and Iota, a tremendous amount of damage to infrastructure and human suffering. But now, we have to start talking about Kappa. What happens when we run out of the Greek alphabet?

Dennis Stansell
Dennis Stansell
12 days ago

Dr. Masters was right on with his forecast of intensification.

ChanceShowerLA
ChanceShowerLA
12 days ago

comment image?hash=40553

Skyepony
12 days ago

Iota 925mb 155mph
comment image?w=600&h=445

HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago

comment image

Reunion doing something odd.. TC “WKN” instead of the cyclone’s name.

Screenshot_2020-11-16 https tgftp nws noaa gov.png
Last edited 12 days ago by HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago

Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #3 – 10:00 AM RET November 16 2020
DEPRESSION TROPICALE 02-20202021
================================================
South of Diego Garcia

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Depression 02R (999 hPa) located at 10.0S 71.5E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving east at 20 knots.

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
Extending up to 100 nm in the northeastern quadrant and up to 130 nm in the northwestern quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T1.5/1.5/S0.0/6 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
===========================
12 HRS: 11.1S 73.9E – 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
24 HRS: 13.2S 74.8E – 25 knots (Depression se Comblant)
48 HRS: 19.0S 74.3E – 20 knots (Depression se Comblant)

Additional Information
===========================
The configuration has changed little in the last 6 hours. It remains strongly sheared with intense burst of convection occurring near the center. 0338z SCATSAT swath still show near gale force winds in the northern semi-circle.

The system continues on a general eastward track within a steering flow driven by a west-equatorial flow to the north and the northern portion of Alicia’s circulation to the south. The system is expected to make a southeastern then southern turn in a steering flow mainly driven by alicia’s circulation. The models mostly agree on this track philosophy.

Environmental conditions remain unfavorable for the intensification of the system due to the persistence of a strong easterly shear. The surge of the equatorial westerlies in the low and mid-levels remains the main driver of the intensification of this system. The system is expected to remain at similar intensity and structure over the next hours as long as the equatorial dynamics remain present and then to weaken due to lack of convergence in the low-levels despite a decreasing shear. On this scenario, gale force winds are possible locally in the short term in the northern semicircle. It cannot be completely excluded in this interval that a more generalized gale force winds may develop but this probability remains very low for the moment.

HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago

Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #16 – 10:00 AM RET November 16 2020
CYCLONE TROPICAL ALICIA (01-20202021)
================================================
Northeast of Rodrigues island

At 6:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Alicia (975 hPa) located at 16.0S 72.3E has 10 minute sustained winds of 70 knots with gusts of 100 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving south southwest at 8 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
========================
35 nm radius from the centre

Storm Force Winds
===================
40 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 50 nm in the eastern semi-circle and up to 60 nm in the south-western quadrant

Gale Force Winds
==================
50 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 65 nm in the eastern semi-circle and up to 80 nm in the south-western quadrant

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
70 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 90 nm in the north-eastern quadrant and up to 120 nm in the southern semi-circle

Dvorak Intensity: T4.5/4.5/S0.0/6 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
===========================
12 HRS: 16.8S 71.9E – 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
24 HRS: 17.6S 71.5E – 35 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)
48 HRS: 21.0S 69.3E – 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
72 HRS: 21.7S 67.2E – 20 knots (Depression se Comblant)

Additional Information
===========================
Over the last six hours, Alicia cloud pattern evolved a lot. An eye pattern was present shortly after 0000z with a maximum subjective

Dvorak analysis around 5.5. Then the appearance of Alicia severely decayed with no more eye in infrared. This change are related to the detrimental effects of the strong shear associated with dry air intrusions within the inner core. Last microwave confirm this diagnostic showing a strong tilt between the eyes in 89ghz and 37ghz: near 25 nm in 0340z gmi swath. Current intensity reflects more the maximum intensity during the last six hours rather than the 0600z one which should be weaker.

The track forecast remains driven by the eastward shift of the subtropical ridge which induces a polewards track. It then become more zonal thanks to the arrival of the subtropical anticyclone, when the system becomes weak. The probability of a fujiwara effect with Tropical Depression 02 seems rather low due to the short size of no. 02.

The powerful altitude divergence allowed alicia to make a final deepening. Now the low is likely due to the arrival of dry air above the inner core in relation with shear. The disappearing of the sufficient oceanic potential should end any possibility for renewed tropical deepening.

Will Burke
Will Burke
12 days ago

Thank you for reporting weather, the climate certainly is changing.

HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago

Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #15 – 4:00 AM RET November 16 2020
CYCLONE TROPICAL ALICIA (01-20202021)
================================================
East Northeast of St Brandon island
Northeast of Rodrigues island

At 0:00 AM UTC, Tropical Cyclone Alicia (979 hPa) located at 15.3S 72.8E has 10 minute sustained winds of 65 knots with gusts of 90 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving south southwest at 10 knots.

Hurricane Force Winds
========================
Extending up to 25 nm in the western semi-circle

Storm Force Winds
===================
30 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 35 nm in the southern semi-circle

Gale Force Winds
==================
45 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 65 nm in the north-eastern quadrant, up to 75 nm in the south-western quadrant and up to 85 nm in the south-eastern quadrant

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
80 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 105 nm in the north-eastern quadrant and up to 130 nm in the southern semi-circle

Dvorak Intensity: T4.0/4.0/D0.5/24 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
===========================
12 HRS: 16.2S 72.4E – 55 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
24 HRS: 16.7S 71.9E – 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)
48 HRS: 18.8S 70.6E – 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
72 HRS: 20.3S 68.5E – 25 knots (Depression se Comblant)

Additional Information
===========================
Very intense convection has developed during the last 6 hours near the center of Alicia accompanied by very cold cloud tops on infrared imagery (-90C). The AMSR2 of 2017z reveals that the internal structure has improved with a consolidated and less tilted eye configuration in the 89 ghz channel. Shortly before 0000z, this eye appeared in infrared with some raw T-num at 5.5 just after 0000z. The ADT that took into account the microwave eye structure rose to an estimate of 65 kts (winds 10 min). Earlier last night, a smap pass estimated 64 kts at the swath’s edge. Alicia is therefore estimated to have reached the tropical cyclone’s stage.

The track prediction remains guided by the eastward shift of the subtropical ridge which induces a polewards track. The latest models show less agreement on the short time frame with ifs which has shifted significantly westward suggesting a possible fujiwhara effect in the next 24 hours with the circulation of Tropical Depression no. 02. This possibility has been partially integrated in the new CMRS forecast.

The powerful altitude divergence allowed Alicia to continue a final intensification. This one could still be maintained a few hours this morning before the system navigates on too cold waters. Later today a definite weakening trend is thus expected with an insufficient oceanic potential south of 17.0S, persistent shear and intrusions of dry air at the mid levels.

HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago
Reply to  HadesGodWyvern

first hurricane of the SHEM.

other cyclones in the SHEM, TD 02R (93S) may have a chance of getting gale force winds in the northern semicircle of the center for a short period of time

Skyepony
12 days ago

Astronauts are headed to the International Space Station..

comment image?w=600&h=465

Kevin
12 days ago

I’m hopeful significant dust extinction will reduce heat and moisture enough to matter a lot. But we’re preparing for the worst in Costa Rica.

Screen Shot 2020-11-15 at 17.41.16.png
Kevin
12 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

In this infrared image you see the effect of the dust shown in the previous image.

Screen Shot 2020-11-15 at 17.47.14.png
SWFlWeather91
SWFlWeather91
12 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

Gd evening Kevin. Was wondering what website you used to view the Optical wind imagery of the ocean?

O. Smith
O. Smith
12 days ago
Reply to  SWFlWeather91

https://www.tropicaltidbits.com/sat/satlooper.php?region=atl&product=ir

look around here see if you find what you are after

O. Smith
O. Smith
12 days ago
Reply to  Kevin

good idea. Evac if you can

Dirk
Dirk
12 days ago

Thanks for the update Dr. Jeff, i can imagine your about tired of so many storms this season up to now.

Albin Holder
Albin Holder
12 days ago
Reply to  Dirk

Dr. Jeff and Bob should put in for overtime pay.

Bahahurican
Bahahurican
12 days ago

2020: But wait! There’s more!

I really feel for the Nicaraguans and Hondurans …. That one-two punch is a real knockout move. SMH …

And it seems we may actually have yet another storm form before the month is over.

Albin Holder
Albin Holder
12 days ago
Reply to  Bahahurican

Omg! So I hear. Right behind Iota.

Will Burke
Will Burke
12 days ago
Reply to  Bahahurican

We MUST have endless storms going through the gulf. Essential in this new abnormal,

jiiski
jiiski
12 days ago

Thanks so much, Dr. Masters, for another excellent and helpful post in this long season.

Albin Holder
Albin Holder
12 days ago
Reply to  jiiski

Dr.Jeff is the best and we are thankful he survived Hurricane Hugo in his hurricane hunter days. I flew P-2s for the Naval Air Reserve but never into a tropical disturbance like Dr. Jeff did.

HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago

Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #14 – 22:00 PM RET November 15 2020
FORTE TEMPETE TROPICALE ALICIA (01-20202021)
================================================
Northeast of Rodrigues island

At 18:00 PM UTC, Severe Tropical Storm Alicia (982 hPa) located at 14.1S 73.6E has 10 minute sustained winds of 55 knots with gusts of 80 knots. The cyclone is reported as moving south southwest at 8 knots.

Storm Force Winds
===================
extending up to 30 nm in the southwestern and northeastern quadrants, and up to 35 nm in the southeastern quadrant

Gale Force Winds
==================
45 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 60 nm in the northeastern quadrant and up to 75 nm in the southern semi-circle

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
60 nm radius from the centre, extending up to 110 nm in the southwestern quadrant, up to 120 nm in the northeastern quadrant and up to 140 nm in the southeastern quadrant

Dvorak Intensity: T4.0/4.0/D0.5/24 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
===========================
12 HRS: 16.0S 73.0E – 50 knots (Forte Tempête Tropicale)
24 HRS: 16.9S 72.5E – 40 knots (Tempête Tropicale Modérée)
48 HRS: 19.0S 71.4E – 30 knots (Depression se Comblant)
72 HRS: 21.0S 69.0E – 30 knots (Depression se Comblant)

Additional Information
===========================
The embedded center pattern has been maintained over the last 6 hours with overall little change in the available subjective and objective estimates. The intensity is therefore maintained at 55 kts. The strong northeasterly vertical wind shear (analyzed at 20-25 kts at 1500z by the CIMSS) impacts the vertical structure of the system which shows a 25 to 30 mn tilt between low and mid troposphere circulations on microwave imagery.

The track forecast remains guided by the eastward shift of the subtropical ridge that induce a polewards track. The numerical models remain in good agreement on this global scenario despite some slight differences on forward motion and the current prediction remains very close to the consensus.

The current shear reduces the possibility of intensification in the short term and it now appears only very low probabilities that Alicia will become a tropical cyclone. However, this possibility cannot be completely ruled out since the upper levels divergence remains very good in the southern semicircle. From Monday, conditions should start to deteriorate significantly with an insufficient oceanic potential south of 17.0S and an increasing shear, gradually associated with mid-levels dry air intrusions.

Bahahurican
Bahahurican
12 days ago
Reply to  HadesGodWyvern

South Indian Ocean starting already?

HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago
Reply to  Bahahurican

yup this is the first storm.

HadesGodWyvern
HadesGodWyvern
12 days ago

Mauritius Meteorological Services
Tropical Cyclone Advisory #1 – 22:00 PM RET November 15 2020
DEPRESSION TROPICALE 02-20202021
========================================
Southwest of Diego Garcia

At 18:00 PM UTC, Tropical Depression 02R (999 hPa) located at 9.0S 68.6E has 10 minute sustained winds of 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots. The depression is reported as moving east at 9 knots.

Near Gale Force Winds
======================
extending up to 130 nm in the northern semi-circle

Dvorak Intensity: T1.5/1.5/D1.0/24 HRS

Forecast and Intensity
===========================
12 HRS: 9.3S 71.1E – 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
24 HRS: 10.5S 74.0E – 30 knots (Depression Tropicale)
48 HRS: 15.8S 73.7E – 25 knots (Depression se Comblant)

Additional Information
===========================
The system followed for several days between the Chagos and the Seychelles archipelago has now developed a better defined circulation. The associated convective activity has increased somewhat over the last 24 hours but is still impacted by a powerful easterly shear that leaves all the thunderstorm activity within the western semicircle. Surface observations (rama network buoy) and altimetric and scatterometric data of the evening (SARAL, ASCAT-A, SCATSAT), confirm near gale force winds in the whole northern semicircle and was useful to estimate the central pressure. The intensity is thus set at 30 kts on the basis of these data despite a cloud configuration that remains poorly defined and not classical for a tropical depression.

The system has accelerated today on a general eastward track in a steering flow driven by equatorial westerlies to the north and the northern portion of the Alicia’s circulation to the south. The system is expected to turn southeastwards and then southward, in the wake of Alicia, as a strong low to mid-levels subtropical ridge is present east of 75.0E.

Environmental conditions remain marginally favorable for the intensification of the system due to the persistence of an easterly shear. The surge of the equatorial westerlies in the low and mid-levels remains the main driver of the intensification of this system. The system is expected to remain at similar intensity and structure over the next 24 to 30 hours as long as the equatorial dynamics remain present and then to weaken due to lack of convergence in the low-levels thereafter despite a decreasing shear. On this scenario, gale force winds are possible locally in the short term in the northern semicircle. It cannot be completely excluded in this interval that a more generalized gale force winds may develop but this probability remains low for the moment.

micatnight
13 days ago

Average Atlantic Hurricane Season: 12-6-3

2020 Greek Alphabet (so far): 9-5-3

Devin
Devin
13 days ago

Thank you for the update!

Does anyone have the link to the other discussion? I can’t seem to find it again.

uruk
uruk
13 days ago

Thanks for the update. Our thoughts are with the Central American people, especially the Honduran and Nicaraguan folks who’ve had such a rough patch.