The center of very dangerous category 4 Hurricane Eta was located just a scant 25 miles off the coast of Nicaragua at 0400 CST this morning. The Public Advisory on the storm published by the National Hurricane Center offered these very ominous statistics.

SUMMARY OF 400 AM EST...0900 UTC...INFORMATION
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LOCATION...13.8N 83.1W
ABOUT 25 MI...40 KM SE OF PUERTO CABEZAS NICARAGUA
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...150 MPH...240 KM/H
PRESENT MOVEMENT...WSW OR 250 DEGREES AT 5 MPH...7 KM/H
MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...923 MB...27.26 INCHES

 

Hurricane Eta is just five miles an hour, as far as windspeed goes, from reaching category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale. It's not like that 5 mph will make that much of a difference the coastline near Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua will be decimated regardless because of the wind, the rain, and the storm surge.

To make matters worse forecasters believe Eta will remain a hurricane over land for much of today. It is only forecast to weaken to tropical storm status by this time tomorrow. Oh, and it's not moving very fast at all. In fact, the official track forecast from the Hurricane Center keeps Eta over the Central American nations of Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize all the way through Saturday.

Forecasters say we will be measuring rainfall from the system in feet instead of inches. Plus the mountainous terrain in that part of the world will no doubt lead to some dangerous and deadly flash flooding as well.

By Saturday Eta is expected to be a tropical depression but it is forecast to loop back out over the warm waters of the Caribbean where it is forecast to once again intensify. I'd love to tell you that tropical model guidance doesn't bring the system into the Gulf of Mexico but it does. At least as of these early stages of long-range model runs.

Remember forecast models will and do change. So, don't get freaked out or scared by the fact that we could have yet another tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico by late this week or early next. But at least, as of now, the model guidance suggests that Eta even if it reforms will not affect Louisiana and the northern Gulf coast.