Tropical Storm Matthew threatens flooding for Central AmericaBy AP
Friday, September 24, 2010
Tropical Storm Matthew threatens Central America
MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua was evacuating about 10,000 people from the path of Tropical Storm Matthew as the storm drenched the Caribbean coast and threatened much of a Central American region prone to disastrous flooding.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew could bring 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 centimeters) of rain to Nicaragua and Honduras, with the possibility of flash floods and mud slides. Some parts of Nicaragua already were coping with flooding due to earlier rains.
The center said the storm was moving inland over Honduras late Friday and was heading northwest toward Guatemala with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph). The storm first hit land Friday afternoon over northeastern Nicaragua.
A tropical storm watch also was in effect for the coast of Belize.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega ordered the preventive measures and “all emergency structures are on alert,” Lt. Col. Freddy Herrera told The Associated Press by telephone. “We have evacuated people from the region of Cabo Gracias a Dios and the Miskito Cays” in the same region.
Flights into the area were suspended due to limited visibility, though the winds are moderate, the military said.
In Honduras, the government declared a state of preventive alert throughout the country and Defense Minister Marlon Pascua said the army was ready to help civil defense actions.
In Honduras, the defense minister said armed forces are ready, and the Red Cross reported 3,000 aid workers in place. Civil defense officials in El Salvador were taking precautions, including canceling classes in high-risk areas, and Costa Rican authorities also reported being on a high level of alert for increased precipitation in flood-risk zones along the central Pacific coast.
Meanwhile far out over the Atlantic, Lisa became the seventh hurricane of the season and was drifting slowly north with maximum sustained winds near 75 mph (120 kph).
Tags: Central America, Floods, Honduras, Latin America And Caribbean, Managua, Nicaragua, Storms, Tropical-weather