Tropical Storm Eta, the 28th named storm of a fiercely active hurricane season, churned over the Caribbean on Sunday, gaining strength as it headed west toward Central America, the National Hurricane Center said.

Meteorologists expected that the storm would strengthen to a hurricane by Sunday night and that it would reach the coast of Central America on Monday night or early Tuesday. It was forecast to make landfall along the Nicaragua coast as a strong Category 2 hurricane. A hurricane watch and warning have been issued for portions of Nicaragua and Honduras, where forecasters said there could be risks of storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rain. The government of Honduras issued a tropical storm warning for part of its coast.

With Eta, the unusually busy 2020 season tied the record for the most storms with 2005, when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma battered the Gulf Coast. That year, so many storms grew strong enough to be named that meteorologists had to again resort to the Greek alphabet after exhausting the list of rotating names maintained by the World Meteorological Organization.

The agency never got to Eta, however, because the 28th storm of that year was not identified until the season was over and remained nameless. That last storm in 2005 was a subtropical storm that formed briefly in October near the Azores, a remote archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.

New York Times