MIAMI – Hurricane hunters discovered hurricane-force winds within Earl Wednesday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center expects Earl to remain a category one hurricane until the system makes landfall very late tonight along the coast of Belize.
Heavy rain and flooding from this system is already blamed for six deaths in the Dominican Republic.
BULLETIN HURRICANE EARL INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY NUMBER 6A NWS NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL052016 700 PM CDT WED AUG 03 2016 ...RAIN BANDS OF EARL SPREADING OVER BELIZE... SUMMARY OF 700 PM CDT...0000 UTC...INFORMATION ---------------------------------------------- LOCATION...17.3N 86.9W ABOUT 85 MI...140 KM ESE OF BELIZE CITY MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS...75 MPH...120 KM/H PRESENT MOVEMENT...W OR 280 DEGREES AT 14 MPH...22 KM/H MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE...987 MB...29.15 INCHES WATCHES AND WARNINGS -------------------- CHANGES WITH THIS ADVISORY: None. SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT: A Hurricane Warning is in effect for... * Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico, southward to the Belize/Guatemala border. * Bay Islands, Honduras. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for... * North coast of Honduras from Cabo Gracias a Dios westward to the Honduras/Guatemala border. * North of Puerto Costa Maya to Punta Allen, Mexico. For storm information specific to your area, please monitor products issued by your national meteorological service. DISCUSSION AND 48-HOUR OUTLOOK ------------------------------ At 700 PM CDT (0000 UTC), the center of Hurricane Earl was located near latitude 17.3 North, longitude 86.9 West. Earl is moving toward the west near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion is expected to continue with some decrease in forward speed during the next 48 hours. On the forecast track, the center of Earl will make landfall in Belize tonight or early Thursday. Maximum sustained winds are near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is still possible before Earl reaches Belize tonight. Weakening will begin after the center of Earl moves inland. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles (220 km) primarily to the northeast of the center. The estimated minimum central pressure is 987 mb (29.15 inches). HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND ---------------------- WIND: Tropical storm conditions will reach Belize and Mexico within the hurricane and tropical storm warning areas in a few hours. Hurricane conditions are expected in portions of the hurricane warning area in Belize and Mexico tonight. RAINFALL: Earl is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 8 to 12 inches over portions of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala, and the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico through Thursday night. Very heavy rain will reach the Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz between Thursday night and Saturday morning. Isolated maximum amounts of 16 inches are possible in Belize and Mexico. These rains could result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. STORM SURGE: A storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast of Belize and the eastern Yucatan peninsula near and to the north of where the center makes landfall. Storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds on the Bay Islands of Honduras. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and damaging waves.