Tropical Storm Matthew forms; heads ashore
Tropical Storm Matthew developed yesterday afternoon in the Caribbean near the coast of Central America. The system had shown signs of orhanizing for several days but was depressed by high wind shear in the area. Once the wind shear died down, the system quickly developed, fueled by the warm Caribbean waters.
Initial storm track predictions showed Matthew strengthening over water and curving along the coast of Belize. Instead, Matthew made landfall in northeast Nicaragua. The storm is expected to cross Central America weakening as it moves across land.
Tropical Storm Matthew threatens Central America(Associated Press)
MANAGUA, Nicaragua — Nicaragua began evacuating thousands of 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.Central America has had a heavy rainy season this year and the heavy rain from Matthew will increase the potential for flooding and landslides.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Matthew's center was close to landfall Friday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph).
The Hurricane Center said it 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.
A tropical storm watch also was in effect for the coast of Belize.
New storm threatens rain-soaked C. America(AFP)
Central America is facing one of the most intense rainy seasons in the last 60 years, with flooding and landslides that have killed more than 300 people and caused serious damage in recent months.
Matthew is forecast to make landfall near the Nicaragua-Honduras border late Friday or early Saturday, and authorities are bracing for more flooding as soil across much of the region is already saturated with water from the season's earlier storms.
Matthew is expected to dump between six and 10 inches of rain over parts of Nicaragua and Honduras, with up to 15 inches possible in isolated areas.
"These rainfall totals may produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides," the NHC said.