Mid-November Hurricane Iota was the latest Category 5 on record

Satellite photograph of storm crossing from ocean to land.

Enlarge / Hurricane Iota on Monday as it approached landfall. (credit: NASA EO)

This year’s unrelenting hurricane season is still rolling, and Monday evening saw Hurricane Iota make landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm. Despite the official end of the Atlantic hurricane season being less than two weeks away, Iota actually became the strongest hurricane of the year when it reached Category 5 on Monday morning.

This is the first November on record to see two major (Category 3+) hurricanes, and it’s the latest any storm has hit Category 5. The only other November category 5 occurred in 1932, and that was in the first week of the month. Iota is the 30th named storm of 2020—also a record. Once the list of 21 storm names for the year is exhausted, subsequent storms are simply designated by Greek letters.

Iota made landfall near Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua, bringing 155 mile-per-hour winds, rain, and storm surge. Unbelievably, this was just 15 miles south of the location Hurricane Eta made landfall (also as a Category 4) on November 3. This means many people who evacuated for Eta hadn’t even returned yet, but those who had were forced to evacuate again—amidst a pandemic.

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