Topics - June 15, 2012
Central America braces for Carlotta
GUATEMALA CITY, June 14, 2012 (AFP) - Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua were on alert Thursday for Tropical Storm Carlotta, which threatened to blow strong winds and dump heavy rain across the region.
The Miami-based US National Hurricane Center warned that Carlotta could reach hurricane strength late Friday off Mexico's Pacific coast. "A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels above normal tide levels along the immediate coast near and to the north and east of the center (of the storm). Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves," it said in a bulletin. The National Coordination for Disaster Reduction of Guatemala called for urgent action because rains "could cause damage to bridges." It also urged "extreme caution for fishermen from rising waves" and warned of landslides, mudslides and flash floods. "We will remain vigilant in keeping in a state of constant alert, and provide each other support and solidarity to protect lives," said Nicaragua's First Lady Rosario Murillo, who is also the government's spokeswoman.
The US National Hurricane Center said the storm was expected to dump up to 30.5 centimeters (12 inches) of rain over the Mexican states of Guerrero, Oaxaca and Chiapas, along with the southern portion of Guatemala. "These rains could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the NHC added. The storm was located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) south-southeast of Puerto Angel in Mexico. It had top winds of 80 kilometers (50 miles) per hour and was moving to the north-northwest at 16 kilometers (10 miles) per hour, according to the NHC.
Heavy rains leave hundreds of people dead and cause billions of dollars in losses in Central America, a region highly vulnerable to natural hazards. About 25 people were killed in May -- the start of the rainy season -- in Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador.