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Julia kills 14 in Central America as it churns toward Mexico

tropical storm julia hits with wind and rain, in san salvador
Municipality workers clean a mudslide while Tropical Storm Julia hits with wind and rain, in San Salvador, El Salvador, October 10, 2022. REUTERS/Jose Cabezas

The death toll from Tropical storm Julia rose to at least 14 on Monday, officials said, with victims confirmed in El Salvador and Honduras, as the weakening storm dumped heavy rainfall on a swath of Central America and southern Mexico.

Salvadoran authorities reported the deaths of nine people as of Monday morning due to Julia, including five soldiers, while at least 830 people had been evacuated.

Authorities in both El Salvador and Guatemala also canceled classes on Monday.

In Honduras, five victims have been confirmed including a 22-year-old woman who died Sunday after she was swept away by flood waters, and a young woman and a four-year-old boy in a boat that capsized near the Nicaragua border on Saturday night, officials said.

Julia made landfall Sunday on Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast before crossing into the Pacific Ocean.

On Monday, the storm was moving northwest at 15 miles per hour (24 km/h) along the coast of El Salvador toward Guatemala, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The Miami-based NHC estimated that Julia’s maximum sustained winds currently stand at about 35 mph (56 km/h) with its center located some 35 miles northeast of Puerto San Jose Guatemala on the Pacific coast.

It is seen weakening on Monday evening.

But heavy rains could nevertheless cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides as it dissipates, the NHC said, with 5-10 inches of rainfall expected in El Salvador and southern Guatemala.

Mexico’s isthmus of Tehuantepec and western Honduras are forecast to receive 3-6 inches of rain, with less rainfall seen in Nicaragua, Honduras and northern Guatemalaaccording to NHC estimates.

Honduran authorities added that 9,200 people sought refuge in shelters.

In Nicaragua, Julia left a million people without power and heavy rains and floods forced the evacuations of more than 13,000 families.

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