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Julia hits Nicaragua as hurricane with ‘life-threatening’ floods

Tropical Storm Julia drifts west through Nicaragua, bringing what the National Hurricane Center warns could be “life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides” in Central America and southern Mexico. Up to 6 inches of rain is possible in the higher elevations of Nicaragua and El Salvador, while Julia’s circulation continues to disintegrate inland and drain moisture.

Julia arrived at 3:15 a.m. local time Sunday as a Category 1 hurricane around Laguna de Perlas, Nicaragua, according to the National Hurricane Center. The maximum wind was about 85 mph. As of 11 a.m., Julia, centered 65 miles east-northeast of Managua, Nicaragua, had weakened to a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph as it moved west at 24 mph.

Watches and warnings were halted off Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast, but tropical storm warnings were in effect on Sunday off the coast of El Salvador and the Pacific coast of Nicaragua and Honduras.

Follow Tropical Storm Julia

The Associated Press reported that several thousand people in Nicaragua had been evacuated from low-lying coastal areas before the storm and local news media showed images of trees lining the roads.

Before crashing ashore in Central America, Julia flew over the Colombian islands of Providencia and San Andrés, just east of Nicaragua. On Sunday morning, authorities said the wind and rain caused minimal damage to the islands, where residents had braced themselves for another powerful storm less than two years after Hurricane Iota devastated the archipelago.

In a tweet Sunday morning, Colombian President Gustavo Petro said the hurricane’s passage through the island of San Andrés has departed.”Minor damage”, including two injured, two houses destroyed and 101 houses damaged. “The passage through Providencia was milder,” Petro said. “As soon as air operations are restored, help will come.”

Colombia’s National Unit for Disaster Risk Management reported that five houses on San Andrés had lost roofs and four parts of the island were affected by flooding.

Everth Hawkins, governor of the archipelago of San Andrés and Providencia, said in an interview on W Radio on Sunday morning that authorities were able to begin evaluating the condition of the islands around 2 a.m. and found several fallen trees on houses and roof tiles. . houses. About four or five homes in Providencia were damaged, Hawkins said.

As authorities continued to assess the storm’s impact, Hawkins said the damage was not “catastrophic” and paled compared to the destruction of Iota nearly two years ago, especially on the hard-hit island of Providencia.

The archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina has a combined population of about 50,000 people, according to the most recent census figures.

Julia is the 10th storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. The season so far has surpassed forecasts of an active season, with only about 81 percent of the average so far. That’s based on a metric of accumulated cyclone energy, a figure that takes into account the intensity and duration of a storm. It is a rough estimate of the amount of energy storms consume from their high winds.

Fiona, who hit Puerto Rico, knocked Bermuda aside and knocked down the Canadian Maritimes, and Ian, who devastated Cuba and southwest Florida, produced 54 percent of the accumulated cyclone energy this season.

At 11 a.m. Julia was a tropical storm as the low pressure center continued to fill. Imagine a low-pressure center as the dip that occurs when you stir your coffee. The depression in the fluid gets deeper the faster you spin. But if you stop spinning, that depression will relax and the liquid will return to a state of equilibrium, meaning there’s no difference in the height of the surface. The same premise applies here.

Now that Julia is inland, warm waters from below cannot heat and remove air from the center. This allows the storm to weaken. Infrared satellite showed a decrease in color intensity near the storm center, indicating warming cloud tops. That means clouds are not as high, and so the storm is weaker.

Heavy rain and dangerous mudslides

As the storm weakens, it releases a huge amount of moisture in the form of heavy rain. Julia will drop widespread totals of 5 to 10 inches in Nicaragua and El Salvador, with localized amounts up to 15 inches. In Honduras, Belize, northern Guatemala and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico, lower amounts of 3 to 6 inches with some totals of 10 inches can be expected. Parts of southern Guatemala and Costa Rica could see up to 30 centimeters.

“This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides across Central America today and Monday,” the National Hurricane Center wrote. Julia will appear over the Pacific on Sunday afternoon or evening and begin to curve northwest, paralleling the shoreline and extending her lifespan as it slowly weakens into a remnant of a tropical depression.

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