Storm Alert for Central America

MIAMI (AFP) – New alerts were posted Friday in Honduras as Tropical Storm Richard churned toward the Central American nation, the latest in a series of storms affecting the region.

Richard, the 17th named storm of the season, was on a path to brush Honduras and possibly move over Belize and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the US-based National Hurricane Center said.

At 1500 GMT, Richard was some 150 miles (240 kilometers) east of the Honduras-Nicaragua border, packing sustained winds of 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour.

Richard could intensify and become a hurricane over the weekend, the center said.

A hurricane watch was in effect along with a tropical storm warning from the Honduras-Nicaragua border to the Honduran city of Limon.

“Interests elsewhere in the northwestern Caribbean Sea should monitor the progress of Richard,” the hurricane center said.

On its forecast track, Richard is expected to dump rain on northern Honduras and Belize as well as parts of Nicaragua and Guatemala, then strike Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

In mid-October, the small but powerful Hurricane Paula drenched Mexico’s resort-dotted Yucatan Peninsula before churning toward Cuba. The storm caused no serious damage, Mexican civil protection officials said.

However, any more rain raised the troubling prospect of renewed flooding in already waterlogged Central America and Mexico after weeks of devastation from heavy rains.

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