Tropical storm Richard nears hurricane strength, soaks Honduras

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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Satellite image of Richard, which is expected to pass just north of Honduras and strike Belize and Mexico late Sunday as a hurricane.
Image: NASA.

Tropical storm Richard is nearing hurricane strength with winds of 70 mph (115 kph) as it lashes Honduras with heavy rains. Richard is expected to pass just north of Honduras and strike Belize and Mexico late Sunday as a hurricane.

Richard is about 85 mi (140 km) east of Isla Guanaja Honduras and is expected to move further westward paralleling the coast of Honduras. Honduras and Belize are currently under a hurricane warning and the Mexican government has begun to evacuate fishermen from the Yucatán Peninsula, which is under a tropical storm warning, as strong winds and rain are expected over the next 24 hours.

Honduran officials have evacuated residents and tourists from coastal areas. "[We will] evacuate between 3,000 and 4,000 people that live in coastal zones where there could be a storm surge and heavy winds," a Honduran emergency response official, Randolfo Funez, said. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) released a statement, which said: "A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels along the northern coast of Honduras and Belize...and 1 to 3 feet in the bay islands. Near the coast...the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves." They also advised that life threatening flash floods and landslides are possible, especially in mountainous areas in the storm's path.

Richard is likely to plow through Belize and the Yucatán Peninsula before emerging into the Bay of Campeche as a tropical depression on Tuesday according to the Miami based National Hurricane Center. Some computer module forecasts have Richard affecting Gulf of Mexico oil and natural gas rigs.

Full Wikinews coverage of the 2010 hurricane season

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