Tropical Storm “Earl” causes flooding and traffic disruptions in Belize, flash floods and mudslides expected in Mexico


After making landfall over Belize, Tropical Storm "Earl" continues to move inland, lashing southern Mexico with heavy rainfall. Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for parts of Mexico, as intense winds and heavy rainfall may induce life-threatening floods and mudslides across the affected region.

Tropical Storm "Earl" formed on August 2, 2016, near Jamaica and strengthened into a hurricane by 21:00 UTC on August 3.

Tropical Storm "Earl", August 4, 2016. Image credit: NASA/Suomi NPP/VIIRS

Tropical Storm "Earl", August 5, 2016, 13:45 UTC. Image credit: UW-CIMSS

Hurricane "Earl" made landfall near Belize City, Belize on August 4, at 06:00 UTC and weakened into a tropical storm later in the day while traveling inland. The system has battered Belize and the Caribbean coast with strong winds and heavy rainfall, causing traffic disruptions and forcing hundreds to seek shelter.

Numerous flights from Mexico City were canceled, and damage included downed trees, battered cars, and flooding in some areas along the coast.

Video credit: CNBC

According to Philip Willoughby, the city's emergency manager, more than 1 000 people were forced to seek shelters in Belize on the late August 3 (local time). Numerous people were also evacuated in Honduras while about 35 families from the Quintana Roo, Mexico also sought shelter.

Heavy rainfall and strong winds have caused floods in the department of Peten in Guatemala. According to the national authorities, more than 460 people were affected, over 350 evacuated, 89 homeless and 89 homes damaged, as of August 5. Power outages and traffic disruptions have been reported across the affected areas.

The animation for NOAA's GOES-East satellite imagery shows the movement and strengthening of Earl from August 2 to August 4 through the Caribbean Sea to landfall in Belize.Video credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core observatory satellite passed over intensifying tropical storm Earl in the Caribbean Sea northeast of Honduras on August 2, 2016, 11:56 p.m. EDT. GPM found powerful storms around Earl's forming eye were dropping extremely heavy rainfall at a rate of over 251 mm (9.8 inches) per hour and cloud heights of over 16 km (9.9 miles).
Video credit: NASA/JAXA/SSAI, Hal Pierce

Tropical Storm "Earl" was located about 285 km (175 miles) east-southeast of Veracruz and 105 km (65 miles) east-northeast of Coatzacoalcos, Mexico, and traveling west-northwest at 19 km/h (12 mph) on August 5 at 12:00 UTC, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The system was packing maximum sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph) with gusts up to 83.3 km/h (51.8 mph). Its minimum central pressure was estimated at 1 002 hPa.

Winds of tropical force extend up to 110 km (70 miles) to the north of the center. Earl is moving westward, drenching portions of southern Mexico, and this movement is expected to continue over the next 24 hours. The system is expected to move inland into the Veracruz state later in the day or during night hours.

Tropical Storm "Earl" 24-hour forecast track. Image credit: NHC/NOAA

NHC has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for Ciudad del Carmen westward to Laguna Verde, Mexico. Tropical storm wind conditions are expected to spread westward across the warning area during the day and tomorrow.

The system will produce total rainfall accumulations between 203.2 and 304.8 mm (8 and 12 inches) over portions of Chiapas, Oaxaca, Puebla, Tabasco, and Veracruz through the morning of August 6. Locally isolated amounts of 457.2 mm (18 inches) are also possible. Intense rainstorms may induce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Featured image: Tropical Storm "Earl", August 4, 2016. Image credit: NASA/Suomi NPP/VIIRS

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