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Tropical Tracker: Iota keeps record-breaking category 5 streak alive, season slowing down?

Now five straight seasons with at least one category 5 hurricane

This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Iota in the North Atlantic Ocean on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, at 07:11 EST.  (NOAA via AP)
This satellite image made available by NOAA shows Hurricane Iota in the North Atlantic Ocean on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020, at 07:11 EST. (NOAA via AP) (NOAA)

ORLANDO, Fla. – The 2020 hurricane season rages on with no signs of slowing down as we approach the official end in 11 days. Iota slammed into Nicaragua as a strong category 4 hurricane just two weeks after Eta, also a category 4 hurricane devastated the country. To make matters worse, the storms made landfall just miles apart from each other.

Storms made landfall miles away just two weeks apart.
Storms made landfall miles away just two weeks apart.

Iota rapidly intensified into a monster category 5 hurricane as it approached Central America. It “weakened” slightly just before landfall from a 160-mph-hour storm to a 15- mph-hurricane, just barely below category 5 status.

Iota continued the already record-breaking streak of consecutive seasons with at least one category 5 hurricane. With Iota becoming a category 5 hurricane, the record has been extended to five straight seasons with a category 5 storm.

The record stretch of consecutive seasons with a category 5 hurricane has been extended with Iota.
The record stretch of consecutive seasons with a category 5 hurricane has been extended with Iota.

Prior to this stretch, the record was three straight seasons, 2003, 2004, and 2005. There was an otherworldly four category 5 storms in 2005.

Not over yet

There is yet another area to watch in the Caribbean. Regardless of development, more heavy rain will possible in areas that were hit hard by Eta and Iota. Another disturbance could develop off of the Florida coast, near the Bahamas as a cold front, the same one supplying the cooler air to Florida this week, stalls over the warm waters. If anything develops in this region it will move away from Florida. It would also likely get the subtropical tag since it will be part tropical and part non-tropical in nature.

Potential development over next five days
Potential development over next five days

While multiple areas are still being watched, and one could develop close to home, there are no threats to Florida at this time. Overall, both areas have a low potential for development.

Hurricane season officially runs through Nov. 30, but the season could linger into December much like it did in 2005.


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