02 Nov 2022, 21:32

Hurricane Lisa menaces Central America

BELIZE CITY, Nov 2, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - The northern part of Central America 
was on high alert Wednesday for the passage of Hurricane Lisa, with warnings 
of devastating winds, downpours and flash floods also affecting Mexico's 
Yucatan peninsula.

   The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a hurricane warning for 
Honduras' Bay Islands, the coast of Belize and Mexico's Yucatan area 
stretching from Chetumal to Puerto Costa Maya.

   Lisa was moving westward in the Caribbean Sea at a speed of 24 kilometers 
(15 miles) per hour with maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h (75 mph) and 
even higher gusts, said the NHC.

   "Additional strengthening is forecast as Lisa approaches Belize. Weakening 
is expected after the center makes landfall," it added.

   Heavy rains could create flash flooding conditions across Belize into 
northern Guatemala, the far southeast of Yucatan, the east of Chiapas state 
in Mexico as well as the state of Tabasco, according to the advisory.

   "A storm surge will likely raise water levels by as much as 4 to 7 feet 
(1.2 to 2.1 meters) above normal tide levels near and to the north of where 
the center of Lisa crosses the coast of Belize and extreme southeastern 
portions of the Yucatan Peninsula," said the center.

   It also warned the surge would be accompanied by "large and damaging 
waves" and swells as far away as Jamaica and the Cayman Islands possibly 
causing "life-threatening surf and rip current conditions."

   Honduras's Center for Atmospheric, Oceanographic and Seismic Studies 
(CENAOS) issued a red alert for the Bay Islands.

   Ronnie Mcnab, mayor of the largest of the islands and a major tourist 
draw, Roatan, declared a state of emergency that allowed for classes to be 
suspended and schools to be turned into shelters.

   He urged people to stock up on food and guests not to leave their hotels 
for 36 hours.

   In Belize, the government declared a red alert for coastal areas and 
closed schools, while in Guatemala and El Salvador -- expecting lesser 
impacts -- the authorities were on alert.

   In Belize, many residents were fearful of losing everything they own.

   "Many people have houses that are not safe," resident Jazmin Ayusola told 
AFP ahead of the storm.

   Lisa arrives not even three weeks after the passage of Julia, another 
Category 1 hurricane, which caused dozens of deaths in Honduras, Guatemala 
and El Salvador.


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