Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Pacific's first tropical storm could hit Central America, Caribbean

The season's first Pacific tropical depression has formed, TD 1E. For the latest advisories on Eastern Pacific storms go to http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/. For all the latest advisories on Atlantic storms, check http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ or come right here at http://2005flhurricaneseason.blogspot.com/

Source: AP News

MEXICO CITY -- A tropical depression in the Eastern Pacific was likely to grow into a tropical storm -- perhaps even a hurricane -- that could hit Central America by the weekend, forecasters said Tuesday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said that Tropical Depression One-E seemed to be on an unusual, early-season path toward the coasts of Guatemala or El Salvador and that it ``could cause torrential rains over Central America.''

By Tuesday evening, the depression already had top sustained winds of 35 mph -- approaching the 39 mph level at which it would become a tropical storm. Forecasters said there was a chance it could reach hurricane strength of 74 mph before hitting land.

The depression's center was located about 470 miles west-southwest of the coast of Guatemala and El Salvador and was headed to the east-northeast at about 5 mph.

The hurricane center said that it could start bringing rain to Central America by Wednesday.

The storm was likely to be weakened by Central America's mountains, but preliminary forecasts suggested it could emerge over the Caribbean as a tropical depression and regain some force while moving toward the Cayman Islands and Cuba.

Most Pacific storms tend toward the northwest, marching roughly parallel to the coastline and then edging out to sea or veering inland.

The center said that since 1966, only one tropical depression has ever hit the coasts of Guatemala or El Salvador in May.

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