Record-breaking Hurricane Iota churns toward Central America (satellite photo)

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are monitoring the powerful Hurricane Iota as the record-breaking storm approaches Nicaragua and Honduras.

The storm is predicted to make landfall on Monday evening (Nov. 16) as a Category 5 storm, then weaken as it crosses Central America heading west on Tuesday (Nov. 17) and into Wednesday (Nov. 18). Meteorologists are relying primarily on the joint NASA-NOAA satellite GOES-East, which monitors weather throughout eastern North America.

The satellite has had a busy year as the 2020 hurricane season has smashed previous records for tropical storm activity: 2020 has seen the most named storms in more than 150 years, according to the Washington Post, and hurricane season continues through the end of November.

Related: How Earth-orbiting satellites are tracking the 2020 hurricane season

A view of Hurricane Iota from the NASA/NOAA GOES-East satellite on Nov. 16, 2020. (Image credit: NASA/NOAA)

The abundance of storms forced meteorologists to move into the Greek alphabet for storm names, hence Hurricane Iota.

The hurricane is forecast to bring high storm surges to the Caribbean coastline and heavy rains, which could cause both flooding and landslides, according to the National Hurricane Center. In addition, Iota is following in the footsteps of Hurricane Eta, which hit Nicaragua and Honduras as a Category 4 storm about two weeks ago before eventually wandering northeast to Florida.

The busy hurricane season and prevalence of strong storms is in part due to climate change, which raises ocean temperatures and feeds tropical storms.

Email Meghan Bartels at or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at:

Meghan Bartels
Senior Writer

Meghan is a senior writer at and has more than five years' experience as a science journalist based in New York City. She joined in July 2018, with previous writing published in outlets including Newsweek and Audubon. Meghan earned an MA in science journalism from New York University and a BA in classics from Georgetown University, and in her free time she enjoys reading and visiting museums. Follow her on Twitter at @meghanbartels.