Weather experts keep an eye on Earl

Weather experts here said they expected Tropical Storm Earl to increase precipitation in the Central Valley, the Pacific coast, the northern zone and the mountains of the Caribbean. But so far today that has not happened.

However, the U.S. Hurricane Information Center said that Earl is expected to strengthen today.  The storm was expected to pass near the Honduras Bay
Islands this afternoon and then be very near the Belize coast early Thursday.

Winds are 60 mph (95 kph) with higher gusts, said the center, adding the  storm is likely to become a hurricane.

A hurricane warning is in effect for Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico, southward to the Belize-Guatemala border.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Cabo Gracias a Dios westward to the Honduras-Guatemala border, including the Bay Islands of Honduras, and north of Puerto Costa Maya to Punta Allen, Mexico, said the center in its 2 a.m. forecast.

The storm is expected to move west at 14 mph (23 kph) and produce storm surges of from three to five feet, said the center.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the activity produced by Earl was expected to reinforce the rainfall in Costa Rica. The weather conditions already are unstable with a lot of humidity entering the air over the country from the oceans, it said. The weather agency warned of slides and flooding.

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