Friday, April 19, 2024
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Caribbean storm likely to gain force, hit Central America

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (AP) – A storm that has hurled rain on the southern Caribbean and the northern shoulder of South America was expected to hit Central America as a tropical storm over the weekend and eventually develop into a hurricane over the Pacific, forecasters said yesterday.

The fast-moving disturbance known merely as “Potential Tropical Cyclone Two” has been drenching parts of the Caribbean region since Monday without ever meeting the criteria for a named tropical storm.

As of yesterday, it was blowing past the northernmost part of Colombia and was centred about 1,140 kilometres east of Bluefields on Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast, according to the United States (US) National Hurricane Centre.

It was moving west at 31 kilometres per hour and was projected to hit the Nicaragua-Costa Rica area as a tropical storm by tonight.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 kilometres per hour – right at the edge of tropical storm force, through with ragged wind circulation, apparently due to its rapid advance westward. The Hurricane Centre said that pace should be slowing.

The storm was expected to drop 75 to 125 millimetres of rain on parts of northern Colombia, then 125 to 250 millimetres on Nicaragua and Costa Rica, posing the threat of flash flooding.

Venezuela and several Caribbean islands closed schools as the storm approached over recent days.

People take cover from the rain in Caracas, Venezuela. PHOTO: AP