Location: Guatemala, country wide.
Event: HURRICANE IOTA STRENGTHENING, PACAYA VOLCANO INCREASES ACTIVITY: Iota has strengthened to a Category 4 hurricane, with winds speeds of up to 155 mph (249 km/h), and could develop into a Category 5 hurricane as it approaches Central America tonight and moves onshore in Nicaragua and Honduras.
Iota is forecast to weaken as it approaches Guatemala Wednesday, November 18, but will bring heavy rains of over 6-10 inches with maximum amounts of 14-20 inches to the departments of Petén, Izabal, Alta and Baja Verapaz, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Zacapa and Chiquimula. Such heavy rainfall is likely to bring further flooding and landslides to areas already affected by Tropical Storm Eta.
Additionally, the Pacaya Volcano has been showing increased activity over the weekend. Activity is primarily focused on the southwest side of the volcano and includes avalanches, increased ash, and explosions. New lava flows were observed overnight. The Pacaya National Park, managed by the Guatemalan Tourist Institute (INGUAT) is not permitting tourist or public access at this time.
Actions to Take:
CONRED (National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction) advises citizens to;
- Follow instructions issued by local authorities
- Review household evacuation plans
- Ensure that a 72-hour emergency bag is ready for each household member.
The U.S. Embassy further recommends that U.S. citizens;
- Avoid traveling while heavy rains occur as roads can quickly become extremely unsafe.
- Navigation devices and applicationsthat provide directions and traffic and route suggestions should be used with caution as certain detours or alternate routes from main roads and highways can lead to unsafe areas or roads affected by flooding or landslides.
- Visit CONRED(Coordinadora Nacional para la Reducción de Desastres) and INSIVUMEH (Instituto Nacional de Sismología, Vulcanología, Meteorología e Hidrología) websites for updated weather and hazard information.
U.S. Embassy Guatemala City https://gt.usembassy.gov
Tel. (502) 2326-4000
State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
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