Richard becomes a hurricane, threatens Belize

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A wind swath of Richard showing watches and warnings
Image: National Hurricane Center.

Richard has become a Category one hurricane with winds of 85 mph (155 kph) according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center.It is heading west-northwestward and is expected to make landfall in Belize sometime this evening.

Richard is located 95 mi (155 km) east of Belize City, Belize, however it is still dumping heavy rains in Honduras. Sections of the north coast of Honduras, from Limón westward to Puerto Cortes and the Bay Islands including Rotan, Utila and Guanaja, as well as the entire country of Belize are still under a hurricane warning according to the Hurricane Center. A tropical storm warning is also up for east coast of Yucatán Peninsula from Punta Gruesa to Chetumal. The tropical storm warning and watch are discontinued for areas east of Limón eastward to the Honduras/Nicaragua border.

The Hurricane Center is warning people residing in hurricane warning areas to brace for hurricane conditions by this evening and to rush all preparations to completion. The first bands of Richard brining tropical storm forced winds are expected to arrive within twelve to eighteen hours. Hurricane force winds extend 15 mi (30 km) from the center, while topical storm force winds extend 105 mi (165 km).

The hurricane is expected to plow through Belize and Mexico before emerging into the Bay of Campeche as a depression. The depression could pose a threat to oil rigs in the Bay of Campeche.

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