Hurricane Earl threatens to unleash devastating winds and rain in Belize after being upgraded from a tropical storm.
According to latest reports from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Earl makes its landfall five miles southwest of Belize City in Belize.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) August 4, 2016
The NHC forecasts Earl’s movements in the next 48 hours.
“On the forecast track, the center of Earl will move across central or northern Belize during the next several hours, and move over the southern Yucatan peninsula of Mexico or northern Guatemala later on Thursday.”
Hurricane Earl was forecasted to be moving towards the Central American nation with maximum sustained winds estimated to be close to 80 miles per hour, about 130 kilometers per hour, in a previous report from the NHC.
Now, latest reports as of 1 a.m. EST indicate that the storm maintained its maximum sustained winds and is moving west at 14 miles per hour with its forward speed is expected to decrease over the next 48 hours as it moves inland in Belize.
Because of this, hurricane warnings are in effect in Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico, and southward to the border of Belize and Guatemala.
Meanwhile, a tropical storm warning has been announced between areas covered from north of Puerto Costa Maya to Punta Allen, Mexico.
— NHC Atlantic Ops (@NHC_Atlantic) August 2, 2016
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) of Belize City have already released warnings about possible flash floods and mudslides due to heavy rainfall brought by Earl, according to BBC News.
Officials from the government have also urged residents in low-lying and coastal areas to evacuate as a precautionary measure prior to the onslaught of the hurricane. The city’s parks and international airport have also been closed by the order of authorities.
While Earl may lose some of its winds upon hitting land forms, NEMO officials warn of heavy rains it gathered while treading bodies of water in the Central American region.
Authorities in neighboring areas such as Mexico, Puerto Costa Maya, and the Bay Islands in Honduras have released a hurricane warning, Time added.
According to Weather.com, Honduras is already experiencing heavy rainfall on Wednesday afternoon while parts of the Yucatan Peninsula experienced strong winds early in the evening.
— Brandon Roach (@BrandonRoach86) August 3, 2016
Residents in Mexico and Belize have already concluded preparations for the onslaught of the hurricane on Wednesday, but some from the Honduran coast have been caught by surprise with the intensity of winds.
There, a lobster fishing boat was reportedly flipped over, and 83 people were thrown overboard. Most recent reports still have no mention on whether these people survived or whether they are still missing.
Latest reports from the NHC indicate that Earl will produce rainfall amounting to 8 to 12 inches over parts of Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico all throughout Thursday evening.
Heavy rains are also expected in Tabasco and Veracruz in Mexico from Thursday evening through Saturday morning because of the hurricane.
The NHC is also warning residents in Mexico and Belize of possible isolated heavy rainfall amount estimated to be about 18 inches that might result to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Storm surges are also expected, which could raise water levels to as much as 4 to 6 feet from normal tide levels particularly along the coasts of Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula.
Winds from Hurricane Earl are also expected to bring massive waves in the affected areas which can be damaging to properties and fatal for people still staying along the coast.
[Photo by Luis Soto/AP Images]