Tropical Storm Richard Expected to be Hurricane Richard Today Soaking Honduras


Richard expected to strengthen later today into Hurricane

Tropical Storm Richard is expected to become Hurricane Richard later in the day today, as it soaks the Honduras coast with heavy rains and winds. Authorities in the Central American nation are warning residents of deadly flooding and mudslide and have issued states of maximum alert in four coastal provinces being affected by the storm. Civil defense offices along the coastline were preparing to execute evacuation orders if necessary. Richard is getting more organized as it approaches the Bay Islands of Honduras, and was located at 16.5 N 85.5W or about 25 miles, or 45 km east of Isla Guanaja, Honduras, and 190 miles, or 310 KM east southeast of Belize City at 4 AM CDT. It has maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, or 110 kph, and is moving wnw or 285 degrees at 10 mph, or 17 kph. This tracking path is expected to continue over the next couple days. The storm is expected to strengthen and there is an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter en-route to collect more data later this morning. It is also expected to reach the coast of Belize and the eastern Yucatan Peninsula later this afternoon or evening.

Hurricane warnings have been issued for Belize and the Honduras, from Limon westward to Puerto Cortes and the Bay Islands, including Roatan, Utila, and Guanaja, with a watch in effect for the Honduras from east of Limon to the Nicaragua/Honduras border and the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Punta Gruesa to Chetumal. A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Punta Gruesa to Chetumal, and the Honduras, from west of Puerto Cortes to the Honduras/Guatemala border and from east of Limon to the Nicaragua/Honduras border. You can view a live tracking map and radar here from the NOAA.

The storm has been moving slowly, which has increased rainfall, and has been creating rainfall on the Caribbean side since Friday evening. The storm surge for the storm is currently expected to range from 2 to 4 feet above the normal tide levels along the northern coast of Honduras and Belize, and 1 to 3 feet for the Bay Islands. Along the coastline, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves, so obviously, stay away from the coastline. Rainfall of 2 to 4 inches is expected for the northern Honduras, the Bay Islands and Belize, with the maximum amounts from Hurricane Richard expected around 7 inches. The rains again could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, particularly in the mountainous regions. Nicaragua can expect anywhere from 1 to 3 inches of rainfall over the northeastern regions. Winds of tropical storm force are expected over north-central Honduras in the warning area Sunday morning, and Hurricane condition winds are expected by late morning or early afternoon for the warning areas of Honduras. The coasts of Belize and southeastern Mexico can expect Tropical Storm conditions beginning by late Sunday afternoon, and to expect Hurricane conditions along the coast of Belize Sunday night and early Monday morning, as Hurricane Richard approaches.

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