Iota weakens, but floods and deaths rise

Storm Iota unleashed torrential floods in Central America this week, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes, with a death toll feared to be over 20 by Wednesday morning. Bringing winds of nearly 155 miles per hour, Iota struck the coast late on Monday inundating villages still reeling from the impact of Hurricane Eta two weeks ago. Iota, which hit as a Category 4, was the strongest storm on record ever to hit Nicaragua. By Tuesday night, the winds had fallen to 50 miles per hour as Iota weakened to a tropical storm, but authorities across Nicaragua and Honduras were still battling to cope with devastating flooding on Wednesday. Six people in Nicaragua and three others across Central America and the Caribbean had been confirmed dead by Tuesday evening. Nicaraguan media said a landslide had killed at least 15 other people in the north of the country. Many more were still missing and feared lost, according to the reports. About 100,000 Nicaraguans and Hondurans had been evacuated from their homes, authorities said. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's remnants could trigger life-threatening flash flooding, river flooding and mudslides across parts of Central America through Thursday.