Iota Downgraded to Tropical Storm After Devastating Parts of Central America

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The devastation caused by Hurricane Iota became clearer Wednesday as images emerged of flooded neighbourhoods, overflowing rivers, and damaged bridges caused by the second storm to blast through Central America in two weeks.

The official death toll in Nicaragua stood at six, as reported by Vice President and first lady Rosario Murillo, but that number was rising as authorities surveyed the damage and communications were restored.

Iota arrived Monday evening with winds of 155 mph (250 kph), hitting nearly the same location as Hurricane Eta two weeks earlier.

By early Wednesday, Iota had dissipated over El Salvador, but the storm's torrential rains remained a threat and prompted evacuations across the region.

The storm's centre passed just south of Tegucigalpa, the mountainous capital of Honduras, where residents of low-lying, flood-prone areas were evacuated, as well as residents of hillside neighbourhoods, vulnerable to landslides.

Earlier this month, Eta caused more than 130 deaths as it triggered flash floods and mudslides in parts of Central America and Mexico.

The storm also left tens of thousands homeless in Honduras, which reported 74 deaths and nearly 57,000 people in shelters, mostly in the north.

Iota was the 30th named storm of this year's historically busy Atlantic hurricane season.

It also developed later in the season than any other Category 5 storm on record, topping a hurricane in Cuba in 1932.

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