Updated 5 hours ago
The heart of the powerful hurricane began to make landfall in Nicaragua, with devastating winds and rain already destroying roofs and rivers overflowing.
According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the hurricane was moving at a speed of 140 miles per hour, up from 150 mph overnight.
When Hurricane Ival of Category 4 made landfall, its epicenter was 20 miles southeast of coastal Puerto Cabesa or Bilvey.
The landslide occurred hours later than expected. Etta’s eyes fell on the beach at night and on Tuesday morning.
The incessant winds uprooted trees and cracked roofs, scattering corrugated metal through the streets of the region’s main coastal city, Billow.
Patients were evacuated from the city’s local hospital building to a technical school campus.
“It was an intense night for everyone in Bilvey, Waspam and the North Coast communities,” said Yamil Zapata, a local Bilvey representative for the ruling Sandinista Front.
Guillermo Gonzalez, director of the country’s emergency management agency, told a news conference earlier in the day that metal roofs had caused houses, trees, poles and power lines to fall and rivers to rise along the coast.
No injuries or deaths have been reported so far, he said.
There were tens of thousands of people in shelters in Bilvi and an equal number in small towns in the region. Strong winds and heavy rains had already lashed the area for hours.
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Authorities in Nicaragua and Honduras on Monday evacuated people from the islands and low-lying areas to shelters. Residents dug to climb houses, but only a few buildings on the remote Caribbean coast of Nicaragua were built to withstand such forces.
Nicaragua’s army has shifted red-helmeted soldiers to remote and sparsely populated Bilvi in search and rescue operations.
Nicaragua Vice President and First Lady Rosario Murillo appeared on television on Monday and prayed to God to save the country.
Eta is the 28th person to be named Atlantic Hurricane this season.