Tropical storm Julia left at least six dead after passing through Central America , authorities said on Monday, and the cyclone is expected to continue unloading heavy rains that will reach southern Mexico in the coming hours.
The storm in its advance through the Pacific towards Guatemala, after causing deaths in El Salvador and Honduras and floods and material damage in both countries and Nicaragua.
In El Salvador, where the Julia center was located on Monday morning, three people lost their lives, Civil Protection authorities reported. Two of them after the collapse of a wall that fell on a house in the department of Morazán, about 146 kilometers east of San Salvador.
One more perished in the western department of Sonsonate, when a tree fell on her house. In El Salvador, rescuers have evacuated 830 people and some 141 flooded homes, clogged streets and fallen trees are reported throughout the small country of 6.5 million inhabitants.
In El Salvador, where authorities remain on red alert, Julia has unleashed persistent rains with intense gusts of wind that felled trees, flooded roads and forced authorities to carry out preventive evacuations.
“The eastern zone (of El Salvador) is the one that is registering the greatest accumulated rainfall” with up to 177 millimeters in the city of La Unión (east), Environment Minister Fernando López posted on Twitter.
“It was a deluge with strong winds that kept us awake and left us without electricity,” Marina Pacheco told AFP in the southeastern department of Usulutan.
The government has enabled some 70 shelters throughout the territory, with capacity for a little more than 3,000 people.
In Honduras, heavy rains killed at least three people, while one more is missing, according to authorities.
Wilmer Wood, mayor of the town of Brus Laguna, in the department of Gracias a Dios, in eastern Honduras, reported that two people died after a boat capsized due to Julia. One more person is missing, Wood added.
A 22-year-old woman lost her life after being swept away by the waters of a river in the northern Sula Valley, near the border with Guatemala, Cristian Sevilla, a spokesman for the Fire Department, told Reuters.
At 12:00 GMT (7:00 a.m. Mexico City time) on Monday, Julia was located about 65 kilometers west of the Salvadoran capital, San Salvador, and was moving at 24 kilometers per hour (km/h). h) towards the west-northwest while blowing maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h with stronger gusts.
“The risk of life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides will continue across Central America and southern Mexico through Tuesday,” the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned.
The cyclone made landfall on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua early Sunday as a category 1 hurricane, but was downgraded to a tropical storm lashing with heavy rains and winds before exiting into the Pacific Ocean on Sunday night.
Affectations appear in Nicaragua
The Nicaraguan government declared a red alert after the damage caused by Julia as it passed through the territory, including overflowing rivers, damage to homes, roads, schools and communications, according to a statement issued by the Presidency.
Vice President Rosario Murillo explained that Julia left 7,500 people affected, 3,000 homes flooded, another 2,000 with roofs damaged by the winds, 78 rivers overflowed and walls collapsed.
According to the vice president, at the moment no deaths have been reported in Nicaragua, where classes in schools and universities have been suspended.
In Guatemala, which is on red alert, President Alejandro Giammattei announced that classes were suspended due to the cyclone and said that 1,855 shelters are available to shelter victims.
According to Civil Protection, in Guatemala there are 66,350 people affected in their circulation due to damage to roads or bridges.
In Honduras, where the authorities remain on alert, the Honduran Airport Infrastructure and Services Company (EHISA) announced that the Ramón Villeda Morales international airport in San Pedro Sula suspended operations “temporarily” until Monday.
In Costa Rica, the authorities announced the suspension of classes.
And in Panama, before the arrival of Julia, the authorities carried out evacuations in the province of Chiriquí, bordering Costa Rica, in the Pacific, after registering landslides and the collapse of some infrastructure.
Julia is the second hurricane of the 2022 season to affect Central America after Bonnie entered the Caribbean through the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica in July.
Climate change produces an increase in temperature in the surface layers of the oceans, which generates more powerful storms and hurricanes and with greater amounts of water, according to experts.
With information from AFP and Reuters