Lisa, now a tropical storm, is heading towards Mexico after having hit Belize

Steph Deschamps / November 3, 2022

Lisa, downgraded to a tropical storm, was heading towards Mexico on Thursday after hitting Belize the day before where it caused flooding and property damage.


Both Mexico and Belize removed their weather warnings after the ex-hurricane weakened and moved westward at a speed of 16 km/h according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).


The maximum wind speed was reduced to 75 km / h but forecasters warned that the tourist coast of Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula should continue their monitoring.


The storm is expected to weaken further to a tropical depression by the end of the day before dissipating over Mexico.


Lisa is expected to bring heavy rains to northern Guatemala and southeastern Mexico during the day, before gradually weakening as it moves inland.


The NHC predicted that Lisa could bring up to 250 millimeters of rain to parts of Belize, northern Guatemala and southern Mexico.


In Guatemala, heavy rains have caused flooding and landslides in the northern department of Peten on the border with Belize.


About 143 people were evacuated and 48 remained in a shelter, said Oscar Cossio, secretary of the National Coordination for Disaster Prevention (CONRED), at a press conference. Guatemala has also suspended classes in schools in the north of the country.


Lisa had entered the mainland at 21:20 on Wednesday near the mouth of the Sibun River about 15 km southwest of Belize City, where AFP observed heavy rain and winds of up to 140 km/h according to the NHC, with flooded streets and toppled trees.


"It's very dangerous for us" because in Belize "it floods quickly, even with moderate rain," Jasmin Ayuso, a 21-year-old secretary, told AFP.


In addition to issuing a red alert for Lisa on the entire coast, the government of Belize (405,000 inhabitants) had declared a state of emergency in two districts, with a curfew until Thursday at dawn, closing schools and opening shelters.


Most businesses also remained closed and some areas were without power. Local media showed damage in Belize City, the country's former capital on the northern coast, and other nearby communities.


In Honduras, due to Lisa's passage as a tropical storm on Tuesday, authorities had issued an alert for islands and a northern region, which was eventually lifted.


El Salvador, which should be relatively unaffected, has however put on alert more than twenty municipalities where risks of flooding or landslides have been identified.


Lisa comes three weeks after Category 1 Hurricane Julia tore through the region killing about 100 people, half of them drowned in Honduras, and the rest buried by landslides in Guatemala and El Salvador.


According to the NHC, this is the twelfth storm named this season - the hurricane season runs from June to November in the Atlantic. To get a name, a storm must provide winds of at least 63 mph. Last year's season saw 21 storms receive a name.

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