Saturday, October 23, 2010

Richard to become a hurricane as it closes in on Belize

Gustavo Palencia in Reuters: Tropical Storm Richard strengthened on Saturday as it dumped rain on Honduras and was seen reaching hurricane strength before hitting Belize and Mexico's Yucatan peninsula later in the weekend. The storm was about 65 miles north of Cabo Gracias a Dios, a remote area known as Honduras' and Nicaragua's "mosquito coast" where indigenous groups live in wooden houses along rivers vulnerable to flooding.

Richard had top sustained winds of 65 miles per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Some residents and tourists were evacuating from the mosquito coast area in Honduras as winds picked up, local civil protection officials said. "Richard is expected to become a hurricane on Sunday," the NHS said.

The 17th named storm in the Atlantic this year, Richard will likely barrel through southern Mexico and emerge in Mexico's oil-rich Bay of Campeche as a tropical depression, the NHS said. Some computer weather models forecast that it could then veer north toward the U.S. oil and natural gas production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico…..

Honduras has issued a hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning for the coast from the Nicaragua-Honduras border westward to Limon, Honduras, the hurricane center said.

This GOES-East image from NOAA, taken on October 22, at 1445Z, shows Tropical Storm Richard located east-northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border. This system is moving west near 3 MPH, with winds near 40 MPH. According to the National Hurricane Center, Richard is forecast to strengthen over the next 48 hours and could become a hurricane during the weekend.

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