Hurricane Eta, which has been upgraded to a category 4 storm, has made landfall in northeastern Nicaragua but is expected to reduce in strength Wednesday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said sustained winds of nearly 140 miles an hour were expected.
The storm is expected to batter the region over the next few days - bringing with it storm surges, strong winds and floods.
The hurricane center said the storm would head toward the mountains of Nicaragua and Honduras. It is then expected to head north toward Belize and be downgraded to a tropical depression by Friday.
The direction of the storm remains uncertain so residents living within the affected areas are being advised to remain alert. The storm is expected to be over Cuba by Sunday. Depending on the conditions, the storm could strengthen back up and hit South Florida, the center said.
The center said the "extremely dangerous" storm landed just south of the city of Puerto Cabezas on the country's Caribbean coast. The agency warned residents that the storm would hit large portions of Central America.
Nicaragua's disaster management agency said the storm had already damaged several houses and infrastructure, pulling off roofs and taking down power lines. Flooding has been reported in some parts of Puerto Cabezas - one of the poorest regions in the country.
Local officials said most of their government shelters were already at capacity. Several areas around the city have lost power. Most rivers have broken their banks and floods have reached larger towns around the city. Landslides have blocked several roads.
Authorities have issued a general hurricane warning for residents within a 150-mile stretch of the Nicaraguan coastline - starting from the Honduras border in the south to Sandy Bay Sirpi on the country's Caribbean coast. The center warned that storm surges might reach up to 21 feet above normal levels.
"This rainfall will lead to catastrophic, life-threatening flash flooding and river flooding, along with landslides in areas of higher terrain of Central America," the center warned.