Tropical storm Beta, the 23rd named storm of the current season, is churning the waters of the Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua. According to the latest bulletin from Miamiâ€™s National Hurricane Center, Beta is moving slowly north/northwest at about 4 mph (6 km/hr), which is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. Maximum sustained winds are near 65 mph (100 km/hr) with higher gusts. â€œSome strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours and Beta could become a hurricane later today,â€ said the NHC.
The storm is still far from the U.S. mainland, and according to the NHCâ€™s 5-day forecast of its projected track, it should remain a threat only to the Central American region, as it continues to move more or less towards the Northwest.
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the islands of San Andres and Providencia. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane watch remain in effect for the entire Caribbean coast of Nicaragua from the border with Costa Rica northward to Cabo Gracias a Dios near the Nicaragua/Honduras border and adjacent islands. The NHC notes that â€œhurricane warnings will likely be required for portions of the coast of Nicaragua later this morning. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.â€
At the time of the bulletin, the stormâ€™s center was located near latitude 12.2 north/longitude 81.2 west or about 45 miles (70 kms) southeast of San Andres Island and about 175 miles (285 kms) east of Bluefields, Nicaragua. The NHC said: â€œTropical storm force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 kms) from the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 994 Mb (29.35 inches). Storm surge flooding of 4 to 7 feet (1.3 to 2.3 meters) above normal tide levels can be expected on San Andres and Providencia as the center of beta passes nearby. Tropical Storm Beta is expected to produce rainfall totals of 10 to 15 inches (26 to 40 cms) across northeastern Honduras, Nicaragua, San Andres and Providencia. Isolated maximum amounts of 20 inches (52 cms.) will be possible.â€
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