Tropical Storm Julia could hit Nicaragua and the Colombian islands as a hurricane


Tropical Storm Julia formed in the Caribbean on Friday, triggering hurricane watches and warnings for Nicaragua and the Colombian islands. Heavy rain and flooding could also occur in several Central American countries by Monday.

Julia had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving west at 17 mph late Friday night, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Julia is expected to “become a hurricane” when its eye travels near or over the Colombian islands of Providencia and San Andres Saturday night and hits the Nicaraguan coast Sunday morning, the NHC said.

It is expected to weaken as it moves across inland Nicaragua on Sunday, and then likely dissipate on Monday, the NHC said, as its remnants move northwest across Central America.

However, Julia is expected to bring heavy rains to several Central American countries, with the risk of “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.”

Eastern Nicaragua could see between 5 and 15 inches of rain, according to the NHC, while San Andres and Providencia could get 6 to 12 inches. Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize are also expected to receive significant rainfall ranging from 3 to 12 inches.

The storm was about 360 miles east of the island of Providencia late Friday night, the NHC said.

Nicaragua’s government issued a hurricane watch from Bluefields to the Nicaragua-Honduras border.

Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro announced on Twitter on Friday that the government was preparing shelters on the islands. San Andres authorities announced a curfew for residents beginning at 6 a.m. Saturday to limit people on the streets. Yolanda González, director of the Colombian Institute for Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies, said Julia could be a Category 1 hurricane if it passes the islands late Saturday.

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