Storm warnings have been issued by the governments of Mexico, Belize and Honduras as tropical storm Earl intensified on Tuesday.
Earl has a slight chance of strengthening a bit more to a category 1 hurricane (winds above 75 mph) by Wednesday afternoon, before making landfall in Belize Wednesday night or very early Thursday. A hurricane warning is in effect for the eastern coast of the Yucatán Peninsula extending to the Belize/Guatemala border.
Dennis Feltgen, of the U.S. National Hurricane Center, called the storm conditions a “triple threat” for the wind, rainfall and rising seas it brings.
While moving south of the high-population centers of Cancun and Mérida, the system could cause water levels in the Yucatán peninsula to rise up to four feet. An average of 8 to 12 inches of rain is expected starting Wednesday night.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 50 mph (85 kph) with higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In Mexico and Belize, there is “a serious, life-threatening threat of flash floods and mudslides,” Feltgen said.
On Sunday, while still categorized as a weaker tropical wave, Earl knocked down power lines in the Dominican Republic, causing a fire that killed six people riding a bus.
Tropical Storm Earl is the fifth named storm of the 2016 season, which Feltgen said is earlier than average by nearly a month.
Source: The Guardian