Hurricane Julia crosses Colombian islands towards Nicaragua

MEXICO CITY (HPD) — Hurricane Julia approached the central Caribbean coast of Nicaragua on Saturday night, where authorities and residents were preparing for its arrival, after it affected the Colombian island of San Andrés.

Julia upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane after gaining strength throughout the day, and its maximum sustained winds had stabilized at 75 mph (120 km/h), just above the limit for a Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center. United States hurricanes.

The storm was located about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east-northeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua, and was moving at 16 mph (26 km/h). According to forecasts, Julia could make landfall in the course of the night on the Nicaraguan coast.

Guillermo González, director of the Nicaraguan Disaster Attention System, told official media that at noon on Saturday populations that were at high risk had been evacuated in areas of the Caribbean coast both in the north —the Miskito village of Ariswatla— and in the southern Caribbean. , the community of Set Net Point, near Laguna de Perlas. That area is where the hurricane is expected to hit in the early hours of Sunday.

Many residents spent Saturday preparing and buying food and the authorities issued an alert so that all types of boats were in a safe port

Since morning, the Nicaraguan army had begun to prepare the evacuation of islands and keys around the town of Sandy Bay Sirpi and, as indicated in a statement, brought humanitarian aid to the municipalities of Bluefields and Laguna de Perlas, from where it will be transferred to 118 temporary shelters.

In Bluefields, however, on Saturday night life continued unchanged and people were reluctant to leave their homes.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro declared a “maximum alert” on Saturday and asked the hotel sector to prepare space to shelter the vulnerable population.

As night fell, there was no news of any damage to the islands near the Julia Pass on Saturday night, but the authorities of San Andrés had announced a curfew starting at 6:00 in the morning to limit the presence of people on the street. Air operations remained suspended.

At the moment there was no preliminary information on the aftermath of the storm in San Andrés.

More dangerous than the wind may be the effects of the rains that will accompany Julia as she crosses from northern Central America to the southern Mexican Pacific, because the terrain throughout this region is already very wet and saturated.

The meteor is expected to drop 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rainfall across Central America, and up to 15 inches (38 centimeters) in isolated areas.

“These rains may cause life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides through this weekend,” the NHC said.

In Guatemala, according to government estimates, Julia could affect 10 departments in the east, center and west of the country, the region that has been hit the hardest by this rainy season and where the poorest and most vulnerable population is concentrated.

From May to September, the storms have caused the death of 49 people and there are six missing and almost 10,000 homeless, as well as damage to hundreds of roads and homes, according to official data.

In El Salvador, where 19 people have died this rainy season, the worst rainfall is expected for Monday and Tuesday, but there is a danger of landslides and rock falls on sections of the Pan-American highway near the capital since Sunday, he said. the Minister of the Environment and Natural Resources, Fernando López.

Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele was participating in an emergency meeting with his cabinet on Saturday night to assess the situation. Civil Protection installed 61 shelters with the capacity to house more than 3,000 people in that country.

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