Tropical Storm Julia, A Flooding Hurricane Danger To Central America

Tropical Storm Julia, A Flooding Hurricane Danger To Central America

Tropical Storm Julia will become a hurricane and inland flood threat to Central America this weekend into early next week.

Julia became the tenth named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season late Friday morning, about two weeks later than the "J" storm arrives in an average season.

Julia is not expected to be a threat to the United States, but is a danger for Central America. Here's what you need to know.

Current Status, Watches, Warnings

Hurricane warnings are now in effect for parts of the central Nicaraguan coast and for the Colombian islands of San Andres, Providencia and the Santa Catalina Islands near Nicaragua. This is where hurricane conditions are expected by Saturday evening, and tropical storm force winds could arrive as soon as Saturday afternoon.

A hurricane watch is now in effect along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua from Bluefields south to Laguna de Perlas and from Puerto Cabezas north to the Honduran border. This means hurricane conditions are possible Sunday morning, with tropical storm force winds moving in by Saturday night.

Tropical storm warnings are in effect for much of the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua and watches for a part of the Honduras Caribbean coast from the border with Nicaragua to Punta Patuca. Tropical storm conditions are possible in this area Sunday morning.

Right now, this system poses a threat of heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions in northern Colombia. Heavy rain triggered flooding in Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday.

Julia's Threats

Heavy rain will be Julia's biggest threat over Central America beginning this weekend and lasting into next week as its remnant moves inland.

Parts of Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama could pick up over 15 inches of rain this weekend into early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center. This could trigger life-threatening flash flooding and landslides in areas of hilly or mountainous terrain.

Additional heavy rain will also spread into parts of Guatemala, Belize and southern Mexico which could also trigger flash flooding early next week. This rain may last well after Julia dissipates over Central America.

A dangerous storm surge of up to 6 feet is possible along the coast of Nicaragua Sunday, and damaging winds are also likely near Julia's landfall Sunday along the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua.

High surf and rip currents will be more widespread threats in the Caribbean Sea from southern Hispaniola and Jamaica to the Cayman Islands, southern Cuba, Belize and Mexico's eastern Yucatan Peninsula, including Cancun and Cozumel.

Where It's Headed And How Strong

Julia will organize and strengthen over the southern Caribbean Sea now that it is moving away from the South American coast.

High pressure aloft will expand westward, acting like a gate, keeping the system from entering the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Therefore, we do not expect the system to pose a threat to the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Wind shear will be low as Julia moves westward over an ample supply of deep, warm water in western Caribbean Sea.

Therefore, we expect Julia to become a hurricane prior to its early Sunday landfall.

However, that high pressure aloft will steer Julia toward the coast of Central America, with a landfall expected most likely in Nicaragua. A small portion of the Nicaraguan coast will receive hurricane conditions close to this landfall.


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