Forecasters expect Eta to become a hurricane and is predicted to be nearing the Nicaraguan coast early Tuesday.
Rain-heavy Tropical Storm Eta has grown rapidly to near hurricane strength while heading for a drenching collision with Central America, as this Atlantic hurricane system tied the record for the most named storms.
Eta had maximum sustained winds of 101 kph (70 mph) late Sunday, the US National Hurricane Center said. It was centred about 345 kilometres (215 miles) east of the Nicaragua-Honduras border and was heading westward at 20 kph (13 mph).
Forecasters expected Eta to become a hurricane during the night and it was predicted to be nearing the Nicaraguan coast early on Tuesday.
Forecasters said central and northern Nicaragua into much of Honduras could get 380 to 640 millimetres (15 to 25 inches) of rain, with 890 millimetres (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 November 30. And in 2005, Zeta formed toward the end of December.