Hurricane Earl batters Belize with wind and heavy rain

Hurricane moves west into Guatemala after hundreds of people took shelter overnight

Palm trees buckle under rain and strong winds as Hurricane Earl approaches, in Beilize City, Belize, August 3rd, 2016. Photograph:  Henry Romero/Reuters

Palm trees buckle under rain and strong winds as Hurricane Earl approaches, in Beilize City, Belize, August 3rd, 2016. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

 

Tropical storm Earl whipped Belize with wind and heavy rain as it weakened, moving into Guatemala toward southeastern Mexico on Thursday after hundreds of people took shelter overnight.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said at 12.00pm GMT that Earl had maximum sustained winds of 105 km per hour (65 miles per hour)as it churned about 145 km (90 miles) west of Belize City. Earl had been a hurricane overnight.

Late Wednesday, over 1,000 people were in shelters in Belize City, according to Philip Willoughby, who is in charge of the city’s emergency management. Dozens of people were also evacuated in Honduras on Wednesday, the government said.

As it moves west, Earl is expected to weaken to a tropical depression later Thursday or by Friday morning, the NHC said.

Mexican national oil company Pemex said Wednesday night it was monitoring Earl but had not evacuated workers at oil platforms that are concentrated in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Earl, the fifth named storm of the 2016 season, was expected to bring 20-30 cm (8–12 inches) of rain in parts of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula through Friday morning, the Miami-based NHC said in a statement.

Reuters