Hurricane Beta has hit Nicaragua with winds of over 170 kilometres perhour. However it has lost some of its punch, reaching land as a category 2 storm.
Officials have struggled to find solid buildings to accommodate evacuees. Poor transport links along Nicaragua’s jungle coast are adding to the problems.
President Enrique Bolanos has declared a maximum red alert for the country andurged people not to leave their homes or shelters.
Authorities say they are reasonably well prepared with food and basic medicines.
A state of emergency has also been declared in Honduras, although the storm may spare it and roll across Nicaragua into the Pacific. Its trajectory has been erratic.
There are fears of a repeat of the mudslides triggered by Hurricane Stan which killed hundreds in Central America this month.
Earlier Beta lashed the small Colombian island of Providencia and neighbouring San Andres, which lie east of Nicaragua.
No deaths were recorded.
The hurricane is the 23rd named storm of this Atlantic season – the busiest on record.