BELMOPAN, Belize, Aug. 5 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Earl, which has already caused damage in Belize, is prompting hundreds of people to seek shelter as emergency officials warn of possible flooding and mudslides Friday.
Earl became a hurricane Wednesday afternoon but weakened back into a tropical storm early Thursday, dropping to 40 mph winds. The storm system made landfall in Belize at about 2 a.m. on Thursday.
As Earl moved through Belize and north Guatemala and eventually Mexico, heavy rains and strong winds caused property damage and downed trees. At least one bridge collapsed in Belize, local media reported.
Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization reported “major infrastructure and building damage, many roads and streets are blocked.”
“Roofing and broken lumber, down trees, electrical wires, splinters and nails are strewn all over the San Pedro, Caye Caulker Cayes, Belize City, Ladyville, Lords Bank and River Valley and can cause serious injuries,” NEMO said.
The Mexican states of Campeche, Tabasco and Veracruz on Friday will be threatened by building surf, coastal flooding and beach erosion, as well as possible flooding and heavy rains.
Up to 18 inches of rain could fall in Belize, Guatemala and southeastern Mexico through Friday due to the storm system. Officials have warned of possible heavy flooding and mudslides.