09 Oct 2022, 07:44

Tropical Storm Julia closes in on Central America

 BLUEFIELDS, Nicaragua, Oct 9, 2022 (BSS/AFP) - Central America and Colombia were on alert Saturday as Tropical Storm Julia churned in the southern Caribbean basin, likely to strengthen into a hurricane before hitting Nicaragua, authorities said.

In the city of Bluefields on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast, which is expected to lie in the path of Julia's wrath, fishermen were busy safeguarding their boats and people rushed to buy groceries and withdraw money from ATMs.

The storm's center was about 55 miles (90 kilometers) from the Colombian island of Providencia and about 175 miles northeast of Bluefields as of 2100 GMT Saturday, the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said.

"The center of Julia is expected to reach the coast of Nicaragua overnight, move across Nicaragua on Sunday, and then move near or along the Pacific coasts of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala through Monday," the NHC warned.

Its winds of 70 miles an hour are expected to increase at the same time, the NHC said.

Heavy rain from the storm was expected to trigger flooding and landslides.

Julia is set to strike Central America less than two weeks after deadly Hurricane Ian crashed into the southwest of the US state of Florida, in one of the deadliest US hurricanes on record.

The Category 4 storm flattened whole neighborhoods on the Sunshine State's west coast. More than 100 people were killed according to US media.