Hurricane Iota a Thing of Past Although Devastation Remains: While what was once Hurricane Iota is in the rearview mirror, the devastation is not going to go away anytime soon. The massive category 4 hurricane struck the northern coast of Nicaragua late Monday, bringing high winds and heavy rainfall. The storm continued its trek across Central America before breaking up over El Salvador on Wednesday.
Iota was distinguished by its rapid intensification, strengthening from a category 2 hurricane into a dangerous category 4 as it drew closer to land.
Death Toll from Iota: It is too early to get a definitive death count as a result of Iota. However, early reports indicate that at least five people lost their lives in northern Columbia. Two fatalities were reported in Providencia with another six in Nicaragua and one more in Panama. The majority of the deaths have been blamed on mudslides or swollen rivers.
At least 170 people were killed when Hurricane Eta made landfall in the same general area of Central America on November 3. Like Iota, it was the mudslides that presented the most danger.
Forecasters Tracking Two Additional Disturbances in the Atlantic: Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami are tracking two additional disturbances that are brewing in the Atlantic. The first disturbance is located in the southwestern Caribbean Sea, producing a series of disorganized showers. The system is predicted to crawl west through the Caribbean Sea over the next few days.
Forecasters have downgraded the odds that this system develops further. According to the NHC, the system has only a 10% chance of strengthening into a tropical depression over the next five days. The projected track of the system is still uncertain at this point.
Even if the system does not develop further, forecasters are warning that heavy rainfall is possible in areas of Central America, including the already drenched Nicaragua and Columbia. Because the ground is saturated from the previous two hurricanes, flooding and mudslides are a valid concern.
The second system of interest is located in the Atlantic Ocean between the Bahamas and Bermuda. Forecasters predict that this system may eventually demonstrate subtropical characteristics over the next week. The odds of developing into a tropical depression over the next five days is set at 20%. While it is still too early to tell with certainty, the system is predicted to move to the northeast through the western Atlantic.
Phoenix Seeing Record-Breaking Temperatures: While much of the country continues to live under the threat of hurricanes, Phoenix simply cannot escape the heat. As of Wednesday, Phoenix has either tied or broken the daily high 33 times this year. This includes three record-breaking days this week alone.
The city saw a high of 92 degrees on Monday, distinguishing itself as the latest time in the year that the mercury topped 90 degrees. However, that record was broken the next day when the temperature soared back into the 90s.
Compounding the heat is the fact that the area is also in the middle of a drought. Officials are growing increasingly worried that there may be an increase in fire activity because of the combination of heat and dry conditions. Nearby Tucson is also experiencing record heat this year.
Looking ahead for Arizona, a ridge of high pressure will sustain the high temperatures throughout the end of this week. The heat will start to back off next week as temperatures regulate back to normal.