Thursday 23 November 2017

US states declare emergency ahead as killer Tropical Storm Nate gains force

People traveling by bus for two days and were trapped between landslides walks in an area of a highway collapsed by Storm Nate in Casa Mata, Costa Rica October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
People traveling by bus for two days and were trapped between landslides walks in an area of a highway collapsed by Storm Nate in Casa Mata, Costa Rica October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Men carrying food rations walk in an area of a highway collapsed by Storm Nate in Casa Mata, Costa Rica October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Workers of the National Emergency Commission check a highway that connects with the south of the country that was collapsed by Storm Nate in Casa Mata, Costa Rica October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Heavy machinery is used to remove mud from a highway that connects with the south of the country and collapsed by Storm Nate in Casa Mata, Costa Rica October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
People look at a highway, that connects with the south of the country, collapsed by Storm Nate in Casa Mata, Costa Rica October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
People traveling by bus for two days and were trapped between landslides walks in an area of a highway collapsed by Storm Nate in Casa Mata, Costa Rica October 6, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Water flows through an engorged river caused by the heavy rains brought by Tropical Storm Nate, on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica (AP Photo/Moises Castillo).
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Tropical Storm Nate gained force as it sped toward Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula after drenching Central America in rain that was blamed for at least 21 deaths.

Forecasters said it was likely to reach the US Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend and Louisiana and Mississippi officials have declared states of state of emergency.

Louisiana has ordered some people to evacuate coastal areas and barrier islands ahead of its expected landfall on Saturday night or early Sunday, and evacuations have begun at some offshore oil platforms in the Gulf.

Mississippi's government said it would open 11 evacuation shelters in areas away from the immediate coast, with buses available for people who are not able to drive.

The US National Hurricane Centre warned that Nate could raise sea levels by 4 to 7 feet (1.2 to 2.1 metres) from Morgan City, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) by Friday afternoon and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday before brushing by the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.

Authorities cancelled Friday afternoon classes in parts of Mexico's Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo, where Cozumel and Cancun are located.

Govenor Carlos Joaquin said it appeared the storm would stay well offshore and not hit land, adding "that, I believe, is good news".

A men at work sign stands on a washed out road in Alajuelita on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
A men at work sign stands on a washed out road in Alajuelita on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017 (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
Neighbors walk under the rain past a washed out road in Alajuelita on the outskirts of San Jose, Costa Rica, Thursday, Oct. 5, 2017. (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
A resident walks on the shore of the Masachapa river, flooded by heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
People walk on a pedestrian bridge collapsed by heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in Alajuelita, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
A resident stands on the shore of the Masachapa river, flooded by heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
A resident look at damage caused by heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate on Masachapa river in outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua October 5,2017.REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
People walk on the main street of the city of San Jose, during heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
People walk near Tiribi river flooded by heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in San Jose, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate
Dogs sit on the shore of the Masachapa river, flooded by heavy rains by Tropical Storm Nate in the outskirts of Managua, Nicaragua October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Oswaldo Rivas
Dogs stand near on a road partially collapsed by heavy rains of Tropical Storm Nate that affects the country in El Llano de Alajuelita, Costa Rica October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Carlos Ulate

In Nicaragua, Nate's arrival followed two weeks of near-constant rain that had left the ground saturated and rivers swollen.

Authorities placed the whole country on alert and warned of flooding and landslides.

Nicaragua's vice president and spokeswoman Rosario Murillo said that at least 15 people had died due to the storm.

She did not give details on all the deaths, but said two women and a man who worked for the Health Ministry were swept away by a flooded canal in the central municipality of Juigalpa.

Costa Rica's Judicial Investigation Department blamed seven deaths in that country on the storm and said 15 people were missing as flooding drove 5,000 residents into emergency shelters.

In Honduras, there were three dead and three missing, according to Oscar Triminio, spokesman for the country's firefighters.

Damage caused by the storm prompted Costa Rican officials to postpone a World Cup qualifying soccer match between that country and Honduras, which had been scheduled for Friday night.

AP

Press Association

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