Hurricane Nana makes landfall in Belize


Guatemala City (AFP)

Central American countries were preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Nana, which hit the coast of Belize during Thursday's early hours.

Nana, recently upgraded from a tropical storm, had made landfall between Dangriga and Placencia, towards the middle of Belize's coastline, about 60 kilometers south of Belize City, the US National Hurricane Center said just after midnight Belize time (0600 GMT).

It was traveling west at 25 kilometres (16 miles) per hour, with maximum sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph), according to the center.

The strong wind and rains had already furiously shaken the Honduran tourist attraction of Islas de la Bahia, causing floods there and elsewhere in the country.

The storm also threatened to cause severe damage in Guatemala, El Salvador and the rest of Honduras, according to civil protection organizations, which initiated precautionary measures.

The Permanent Contingency Commission of Honduras (Copeco), which had declared a "green alert" in seven of the 18 departments of the country, extended the list to 11 regions on Wednesday afternoon, including Francisco Morazan, where the capital Tegucigalpa is located.

In Belize, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) warned that the storm "could also produce rainfall of 4-8 inches with isolated amounts of 10 inches over southern and central Belize which could lead to flash flooding and possible landslides."

It pointed out that strong winds could damage homes, fell trees and power lines, or lead to blackouts and interruptions in the water supply.

The 2020 hurricane season, which runs from June to November, has been more active than average, with meteorologists forecasting between 19 and 25 tropical storms, of which seven to 11 will turn into hurricanes.

In typical years, only a couple of named storms would have formed by August, with an average season producing a total of 12 named storms.