MEXICO CITY (HPD) — Tropical Storm Julia formed in the Caribbean Sea on Friday, prompting hurricane warnings for Nicaragua and the Colombian islands.
Julia had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h) Friday afternoon and was moving west at 18 mph (30 km/h), according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). ). The storm was located about 450 miles (725 kilometers) east of the Colombian island of Providencia.
Nicaragua issued a hurricane warning from Laguna de Perlas to Puerto Cabezas.
Julia is expected to pass the Colombian islands of San Andres and Providencia on Saturday night and make landfall in Nicaragua early on Sunday.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro said via Twitter that the government was preparing shelters on the islands. San Andrés authorities announced a curfew starting at 6 am on Saturday to limit the presence of people on the streets.
Yolanda González, director of the Colombian Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies, said Julia could be a category 1 hurricane when it passes over the islands late on Saturday.
A greater threat than the Julia winds was the rains. The storm is expected to drop 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 centimeters) of rain 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.
The remnants of the hurricane are expected to pass through Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and southern Mexico, a region already saturated from weeks of heavy rain.