NICARAGUA: On Saturday evening, shortly after intensifying a tropical storm, Hurricane Julia blew by just south of Colombia’s San Andres island as Nicaraguans hurried to prepare for the storm’s nocturnal landfall.
By Saturday night, Julia’s maximum sustained winds had reached 120 km/h (75 mph) after gathering strength during the day, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
The storm’s centre was located about 200 km east-northeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua, and 30 km west-southwest of San Andres. It was heading west at 28 km per hour.
The San Andres and Providencia islands to the north had been placed under “highest alert” by the president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, who also ordered hotels to make accommodations for the population’s needs.
To reduce the number of people in the streets, authorities in San Andres issued a curfew for residents on Saturday. The islands’ air service was stopped.
Similar preparations were being made near the central Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, where the government had issued a warning for all ships to seek safe harbour. The general vicinity of Bluefields and Pearl City was where the hurricane was headed.
Soldiers from Nicaragua were sent to assist in evacuating people living on the islands and cays surrounding Sandy Bay Sirpi. According to the army, it sent aid to Bluefields and Laguna de Perlas to be distributed to 118 makeshift shelters.
Rainfall totals of 13–25 cm and up to 38 cm in isolated areas that Julia was anticipated to pour across Central America posed a larger hazard than the storm’s winds, according to forecasters.
The storm’s leftovers were expected to pass through El Salvador and Guatemala’s Pacific coasts after sweeping past Nicaragua, a country already drenched from weeks of torrential rain.
Officials in Guatemala warned that Julia could flood ten departments in the nation’s east, centre, and west, which have been hardest hit by this rainy season and are home to most of the impoverished.