Reuters | | Posted by Lingamgunta Nirmitha Rao
Tropical Storm Julia strengthened into a hurricane on Saturday night as it passed the Colombian island of San Andres and headed toward the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h), the National Center for US Hurricanes (NHC)
“Life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides are possible due to heavy rains in Central America and southern Mexico through early next week,” the NHC said.
The storm is headed toward Nicaragua “in a hurry,” the NHC said on Saturday.
The storm was within 15 kilometers (10 miles) of San Andres Island and about 225 kilometers (140 miles) off the coast of Nicaragua, where it is expected to make landfall overnight, according to the NHC.
Central American countries launched emergency alerts before Julia’s arrival, just a week after Hurricane Ian hit Cuba and Florida.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro said in a speech at a regional summit on Saturday afternoon that he hoped “the damage would be less than last time,” referring to the destruction in the Caribbean from Hurricane Iota in 2020. He did a call to hotel chains to “open their doors for shelter”.
After making landfall in Nicaragua, the hurricane is expected to gradually weaken as it crosses the country, before moving north along the Pacific coasts of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala on Sunday and Monday, it said. the NHC. The storm could cause flash flooding in southern Mexico early next week, the NHC said.