Tropical Storm Earl heads to Belize
MIAMI - Tropical Storm Earl formed in the northwest Caribbean on Tuesday and was expected to pass near the Honduras Bay Islands on its way to Belize.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 5 pm EDT on Tuesday, the centre of Earl was located about 200 miles south of Grand Cayman and about 450 miles east of Belize City, moving toward the west near 16 mph. This general motion is expected to continue through Thursday.
On this track, the core of Earl is expected to pass just north of the Honduras Bay Islands on Wednesday afternoon and then be very near the Belize coast early Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast, and Earl could be near hurricane strength as it approaches Belize and the Yucatan peninsula. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km) to the north of the centre.
The government of the Cayman Islands has discontinued the tropical storm watch for the Cayman Islands.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Punta Allen, Mexico, southward to the Belize/Guatemala border; Cabo Gracias a Dios westward to the Honduras/Guatemala border including the Bay Islands.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Punta Allen, Mexico, southward to the Belize/Guatemala border.
Tropical storm conditions were expected to first reach the coast of Honduras by late Tuesday night, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous, and will reach Mexico and Belize within the warning area by Wednesday night or early Thursday. Hurricane conditions could begin in Mexico and Belize within the hurricane watch area Wednesday night or early Thursday.
Earl is expected to produce an additional 2 to 4 inches of rainfall over Jamaica. Total rain accumulations of 8 to 12 inches are expected over portions of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 16 inches in Mexico and Belize. These rains could result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast of Belize and the eastern Yucatan peninsula to the north of where the center makes landfall. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves.