Hurricane Julia hits Nicaragua with torrential rainfall

Hurricane Julia hits Nicaragua with torrential rainfall

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Julia hit Nicaragua’s central Caribbean coast on Sunday and was dumped heavy rain across Central America before the expected reappearance in the Pacific.

Julia hit as hurricane category 1 with maximum winds of 85 mph, although winds had reduced to a tropical storm strength of 60 mph, in the afternoon as it crossed Nicaragua.

The US National Hurricane Center said Julia was centered about 20 miles north-northeast of Managua, the capital, and was moving west at 16 mph.

It said life-threatening flash floods and landslides are possible across Central America and southern Mexico through Tuesday, with the storm expected to bring as much as 15 inches of rain in remote areas.

Colombia’s national disaster agency reported on Sunday that Julia blew up the roofs of several houses and tore down trees as she glided past the island of San Andres in eastern Nicaragua. There are no direct reports of death

In Nicaragua, Vice President Rosario Murillo told TN8 television that there had been no reports of deaths so far, but electricity and communications were cut off in some areas. He said that 9,500 people had been evacuated to shelters.

Local news media showed pictures of fallen trees on roads and local flooding.

Heavy rains and evacuations were also reported in Panama, Honduras and Costa Rica, where several highways were closed due to the rain.

Guillermo González, director of the Nicaragua Disaster Response System, told official media that high-risk people had been evacuated from the coastal area on Saturday afternoon. The army said it had sent humanitarian aid to Bluefields and Laguna de Perlas for distribution to 118 temporary shelters.

The storm is expected to rise over the Pacific and circle the coasts of El Salvador and Guatemala, areas that have seen weeks of heavy rain.

In Guatemala, storms since early May have caused at least 49 confirmed deaths, with six people missing. Roads and hundreds of homes were damaged, Guatemalan officials said.

In El Salvador, where 19 people have died this rainy season, the worst rainfall is expected on Monday and Tuesday, said Fernando López, minister for the environment and natural resources. Officials say they have opened 61 shelters with the capacity to accommodate more than 3,000 people.

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