Saturday, while heading westward in the southern Caribbean and bearing down on the Colombian islands and Nicaragua, Hurricane Julia gained power. It may possibly deliver severe precipitation to southern Mexico early the next week.
Saturday night, Julia was upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The center of the storm was around 55 miles east of Providencia Island, Columbia, and 175 miles east of Bluefields, Nicaragua. It was traveling 17 mph to the west.
The National Weather Service defines a storm as a hurricane when its maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph.
Julia was expected to travel close or over the Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia on its way to making landfall in Nicaragua early Sunday morning.
On October 8, 2022, fishermen paddle a canoe to safety prior to the arrival of tropical storm Julia near Bluefields, Nicaragua. According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Central America is on notice for the approach of Tropical Storm Julia, which is moving through the Caribbean and threatens to become a hurricane before making landfall on the coast of Nicaragua. OSWALDO RIVAS/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
The NHC warned that Julia could bring “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides” to several Central American nations and southern Mexico.
On Monday, the leftovers of the storm were predicted to rush into Nicaragua and then skirt by the Pacific beaches of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, an area already saturated by weeks of heavy rainfall.
A greater concern than Julia’s winds, according to forecasters, would be the 5 to 10 inches — and up to 15 inches in isolated locations — of precipitation that the storm was projected to pour across Central America.
The Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico could get between 2 and 6 inches of precipitation early next week, according to the NHC.
President Gustavo Petro of Colombia issued a “highest warning” for the islands and requested that hotels provide space for the vulnerable population. Saturday at 6 a.m., officials on San Andres enforced a curfew to minimize the number of people in the streets. The islands’ air services were suspended.
Similar preparations were taken in the central Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, where authorities issued a warning for all sorts of vessels to seek safe harbor.
Soldiers from Nicaragua prepared for the evacuation of the inhabitants of the islands and cays surrounding Sandy Bay Sirpi. The army reported delivering humanitarian goods to Bluefields and Laguna de Perlas communities for distribution to 118 temporary shelters.
Officials in Guatemala predicted that Tropical Storm Julia might deluge ten departments in the country’s east, middle, and west – a region where the poorest people are concentrated.
From May to September, storms have resulted in 49 verified deaths and six unaccounted-for individuals. Roads and hundreds of homes have been damaged, according to Guatemalan authorities.
In El Salvador, where 19 people have perished during this rainy season, the heaviest precipitation is forecast on Monday and Tuesday, according to the minister of the environment and natural resources, Fernando López. Officials reported opening 61 shelters with the capacity to house over 3,000 individuals.