Hurricane Ida threatens Nicaragua

The storm known as Ida became a hurricane Thursday, strengthening from tropical storm status, as it neared Nicaragua's eastern coast.

Forecasters said Ida, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and gusts up to 85 mph (135 kph), was expected to make landfall Thursday morning, CNN News.

It could dump as much as 20 inches (500 millimeters) of rain in parts as it crosses eastern Nicaragua, with the risk of flash floods and mudslides, according to the Miami-based center.

There were no immediate reports of deaths, but Nicaragua's National Civil Defense director Mario Perez said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated — 800 of those from flimsy, makeshift homes on Corn Island and nearby Little Corn Island, where strong winds damaged about 45 homes, toppled trees and knocked out power. Residents were taken to the port authority building and concrete hotels.

About 2,500 people live on the two islands, which are popular tourist destinations. "There is no electricity on the island and telephone is out and there is little water," Perez said, The Associated Press reports.

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