MEXICO CITY – A strengthening Tropical Storm Nana was expected to become a hurricane before striking Belize before dawn Thursday and drenching a good part of Central America with dangerously heavy rainfall, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
Forecasters put the entire coast of Belize under hurricane watch and warned that people in Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula should closely monitor the storm’s progress. It said Nana is expected to pass near but north of the coast of Honduras on Wednesday and likely reach Belize early Thursday.
Strong winds, a dangerous storm surge and very heavy rainfall causing flash flooding are likely, it said.
At 5 a.m. EDT, Nana’s center was located about 365 miles (585 kilometers) east of Belize City and about 210 miles (335 kilometers) east-northeast of Limon, Honduras. Nana was moving west at 18 mph (30 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph).
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Omar formed off the U.S. East Coast on Tuesday and was moving away from land.
The Hurricane Center expects Omar to be short-lived. Early Wednesday, it had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kiph), and was expected to weaken on Thursday. Omar was 350 miles (560 kilometers) northwest of Bermuda, and moving east-northeast at 14 mph (22 kph).
Nana and Omar are the earliest 14th and 15th named storms on record, beating the 2005 arrivals of Nate on Sept. 6 and Ophelia on Sept. 7, according to Colorado State University professor Phil Klotzbach