NewsCentral America prepares for the impact of Hurricane Julia

Central America prepares for the impact of Hurricane Julia

Tropical Storm Julia has become a hurricane as it approaches the eastern coast of Central America on Saturday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of around 120 km/h, according to the most recent reports from the United States National Hurricane Center (CNH). .

“Reports from NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft indicate that Julia has become a hurricane as it passed near the islands of San Andres and Providencia,” CNH said.

Julia is expected to generate “hurricane-force winds and a dangerous storm surge in areas where the center of the system crosses the islands tonight and moves overland in Nicaragua on Sunday,” the NHC added.

In previous reports, the center indicated that the now hurricane is rapidly heading towards the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, previously passing through the aforementioned Colombian islands that are in that area.

According to the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies of Colombia (IDEAM), Julia was at 18:30 GMT 195 km from San Andrés Island and 180 km from Providencia, an adjacent island, which together with Santa Catalina complete an archipelago of about 48,000 inhabitants.

The cyclone is advancing at a speed close to 33 km per hour with sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour, according to the entity.

Guatemala and Colombia have begun the alert protocols before the arrival of Julia, according to authorities from Latin American countries, just a week after Hurricane Ian caused serious damage as it passed through Cuba and Florida.

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, said in the morning on his Twitter account that the country is on “maximum alert” before the approach of Julia, pointing out that they expect the storm to reach the Island of San Andrés, in the Caribbean. and close to Providencia, between 7 and 9 at night, local time.

For its part, the entire territory of Guatemala is on red alert before Julia’s arrival, according to the country’s National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction.

The Coordinator also mentioned that according to the country’s National Institute of Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology, the storm is expected to intensify into a hurricane in the next 24 hours, but “by the time it enters Nicaragua it will gradually lose intensity.”

Early next week, the storm could cause flooding in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, the CNH added.

Nicaragua, the alert

In Bluefields, the main city in the southern Caribbean of Nicaragua threatened by the arrival of the cyclone, the fishermen put their boats in shelter and the population rushed to buy groceries and withdraw money from ATMs.

“You have to prepare yourself with food, plastics, a little of everything, because we don’t know what will happen,” Javier Duarte, a cabinetmaker who prays that the cyclone is not powerful and diverts its route from Bluefields, a municipality, told AFP. with flimsy structures of around 60,000 inhabitants.

“We have already had some experiences of hurricanes in Nicaragua, and we are likely to experience” a similar situation, said Constantino Rivera, a 47-year-old fisherman who was ordered to return to land.

For its part, the National System for the Prevention, Mitigation and Attention of Disasters of Nicaragua (SINAPRED) declared this Saturday a yellow alert throughout the country and activated the relief units.

The Nicaraguan Institute for Territorial Studies (Ineter) reported that the tropical storm “is rapidly strengthening” and is heading towards the southern Caribbean of the country, where it estimates that it could impact the Laguna de Perlas area, north of Bluefields.

The government recommended that residents protect their homes and be ready “to evacuate and go to a shelter when necessary.”

The Naval Force of the same country, suspended from Thursday the departure permits for fishing vessels until further notice.

Honduras to save lives

In Honduras, the government announced on Friday in a statement that “for prevention and safety of the lives of people” who live in the northern Sula Valley, it will begin “controlled preventive discharges” from El Cajón, the main dam on Saturday. hydroelectric plant in the country, which has an area of 94 km2.

It predicts that “Storm Julia will directly affect the national territory” in the rivers that feed El Cajon. After passing through the turbines of the hydroelectric plant, the waters are later deposited in the mighty Ulúa and Chamelecón.

The overflow of the Ulúa and Chamelecón, due to the rains that fell in the last ten days of September, forced the evacuation of more than 12,000 people in areas near San Pedro Sula, the second largest city and industrial capital of the country. That is the area most threatened by Julia.

In Guatemala, President Alejandro Giammatei announced on Twitter that he has given instructions so that institutions are ready to serve and support Guatemalans who may be affected.

Meanwhile, the state Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (Conred), in charge of civil protection in this nation, declared this Saturday an institutional red alert in the 22 departments of the country due to Cyclone Julia.

The cloud bands of this rainy system will also reach Honduras and El Salvador. The relief agencies of these countries are attentive to its development and prepare conditions for eventual evacuations.

In November 2020, Hurricane Iota impacted and caused damage in Bilwi, the main municipality in the northern Caribbean region of Nicaragua, 14 days after Hurricane Eta passed through the same place.

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