By Circles Robinson

HAVANA TIMES, Nov. 5 – As expected, hurricane Ida became a tropical storm on Thursday as it plowed through parts of central-east and northeastern Nicaragua. The Cuban Meteorological Institute pegged the storm at 6:00 EST at 60 miles south-southeast of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua.

With reports still sketchy in Nicaragua, the rural communities hardest hit were apparently Sandy Bay, Karawala and Barra de Rio Grande with Pearl Lagoon and Corn Island also affected, reported El Nuevo Diario in the late afternoon.  Several thousand people were evacated from low-lying areas and others with weak infrastructure.

The storm, moving slowly at 4 MPH on a north-northwest track, was packing winds of 60 MPH  and a central pressure of 990 millibars when the Tropical Cyclone Advisory was issued.

Ida is expected to pick up speed in the coming 12 to 24 hours on a path tilting more to the north.  It should also continue to lose in intensity while over Nicaraguan territory, said the Institute, which will issue its next advisory at 6:00 a.m.

Meanwhile, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center‘s  five-day cone shows the eye of the tropical storm crossing the Nicaragua-Honduras border some time Friday afternoon and reentering the Caribbean Sea by late Friday on route to passing just east of the Yucatan peninsula on Monday.  If the path holds it will also drop rain on Cuba’s western province of Pinar del Rio.

Ida is then forecast to continue into the Gulf of Mexico on route to the US Gulf Coast.  At this time, the  NHC does not project Ida returning to hurricane strength.


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