Eta had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph late Sunday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It was centered about 215 miles east of the Nicaragua-Honduras border and was heading westward at 13 mph.
Forecasters expected Eta to become a hurricane during the night and it was predicted to be nearing the Nicaraguan coast early Tuesday.
Tropical Storm #Eta will become a hurricane soon and will rapidly intensify into a Category 3 Major Hurricane before making landfall in Nicaragua Tuesday morning. Here's the latest track from the National Hurricane Center. pic.twitter.com/pax2nKVGxX— Robert Johnson (@RobJohnsonABC11) November 2, 2020
Forecasters said central and northern Nicaragua into much of Honduras could get 15 to 25 inches of rain, with 35 inches in isolated areas.
Heavy rains also were likely in eastern Guatemala, southern Belize and Jamaica.
Eta is the 28th named Atlantic storm this season, tying the 2005 record for named storms. However, this is the first time the Greek letter Eta is being used as a storm name because after the 2005 season ended, meteorologists went back and determined there had been a storm that should have gotten a name but didn't.
Hurricane season still has a month to go, ending Nov. 30. And in 2005, Zeta formed toward the end of December.
Historic hurricane season prompts question: Can we run out of Tropical Storm names?