Like a mushroom, Hurricane Paula has popped up along the Central American coast. The storm seems to be far enough north so as not to be an indirect threat to Costa Rica.
The country is coming off five days of good weather after unrelenting storms that caused many slides and damaged infrastructure.
Paula has strengthened as it threatens the Gulf Coast of Mexico and parts of Central America, forcing officials to call for the evacuation of many coastal areas.
At last report at 10 p.m. Tuesday, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Paula’s maximum sustained winds were 160 kph (100 mph). Further strengthening is expected. The storm had strengthened since midday.
The storm is about 115 kilometers (about 70 miles) southeast of the Mexican resort island of Cozumel, where hurricane warnings are in effect. It is expected to approach the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.
Hurricane Paula could dump eight to 15 centimeters (three to six inches) of rain over western and central Cuba, the Yucatan Peninsula and northern Belize, with some isolated areas receiving more than 25 centimeters (10 inches)
Forecasters say the heavy rains could trigger flash flooding and mudslides in the region, especially in mountainous parts of Nicaragua and Honduras.
The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that winds
would return to drive away rain in the north Pacific and the northern zone. This condition also means an increase in rain in the northern mountains and in the Central Valley, the weather institute said.
The central and southern Pacific would share the afternoon downpours that will be found in the Central Valley. The Caribbean will have sprinkles, the institute said.
The Central Valley got rain Tuesday afternoon, ending a five-day mostly dry spell in the center of San José.