Tropical Storm Nate has killed at least 22 people in Central America on Thursday as it pummeled the region with torrential rains.
The deadly storm forced thousands from their homes and caused destruction to bridges, trees, and roads while heading toward Mexico’s Caribbean resorts and the US Gulf Coast, where it will spike into a hurricane, according to Forecasters.
Officials in Costa Rica said eight people died including a three-year-old girl after they were hit by falling trees and mudslides, and two young Nicaraguan farm workers. At least 17 people were missing.
Two youths also drowned in Honduras due to the sudden swell in a river, while a man was killed in a mudslide in El Salvador and another person was missing, emergency services said, according to Reuters.
“Sometimes we think we think we can cross a river and the hardest thing to understand is that we must wait,” Nicaragua’s Murillo told state radio, warning people to avoid dangerous waters.
“It’s better to be late than not to get there at all.”
Murillo added that 800 people had been evacuated, nearly 600 homes were flooded and 14 communities were isolated because of rains that had been falling for days.
Costa Rica’s government declared a state of emergency, closing schools and all other non-essential services.
Also Government offices and banks across the Central American nation were closed.
The storm will be almost a hurricane intensity when it becomes near to Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula late on Friday, where up to 8 inches (20 cm) of rain were possible, the The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) stated.
Nate is predicted to boost into a Category 1 hurricane by the time it hits the US Gulf Coast on Sunday, NHC spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.
“The threat of the impact is increasing, so folks along the northern Gulf Coast should be paying attention to this thing,” he added.
Major Gulf of Mexico offshore oil producers including Chevron (CVX.N), BP plc (BP.L), Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSa.L) and Statoil (STL.OL) were being evacuated ahead of the storm, the US government Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement said in a statement.
The United States is recovering from two major hurricanes: Hurricane Harvey that tore through Texas in August, and Hurricane Irma in September.