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Nicaragua prepares for Julia
Hurricane Julia hit Nicaragua on Sunday morning. Photo: Oswaldo Rivas/AFP via Getty Images.

Hurricane Julia hits Nicaragua as torrential rains bring fears of flooding and mudslides

The hurricane made landfall early this morning as a Category 1 storm.

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Hurricane Julia was still a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall in Nicaragua early Sunday morning, Oct. 9. It was approximately 115 miles east of Managua and moving west at a speed of 16 miles per hour.

After hitting with wind speeds of 85 miles per hour, they slowed to 75 miles per hour as the storm continued west over the whole of Nicaragua.

The storm started its journey west before landing on the country’s Eastern Caribbean Coast by hitting Colombia’s San Andres Island. 

In preparation for its landfall there, Colombian President Gustavo Petro declared a “maximum alert” on the island and Providencia Island to the north. Hotels on both islands were also ordered to prepare to intake vulnerable populations for shelter. 

Early reports by El Espectador from San Andres put the number of damaged houses at 101 and two people injured. Petro has also since called the overall impact of the storm “minor.”

As Julia now makes its way across Nicaragua, the storm is expected to continue to weaken, but there are still fears of torrential rains bringing flash floods and mudslides in certain coastal areas. Parts of bordering Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala are also on alert.

Parts of Central America as the storm crosses could see between three and eight inches of rain, with some isolated areas getting as much as 15 inches, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Guillermo González, director of Nicaragua’s Disaster Response System, said people in high-risk areas were evacuated on Saturday and that the army delivered humanitarian supplies for distribution at 118 temporary shelters in the Bluefields and Laguna de Perlas municipalities.

After crossing Nicaragua, Julia is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm before making its way up the Pacific Coasts of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Despite its minimal strength, storms of less stature (and without names) have caused widespread death in Central America this year. In May, storms in Guatemala killed at least 49 people and severely damaged hundreds of roads and homes. In El Salvador, 19 people have died during the country’s rainy season. The worst rain is expected there on Monday from Julia’s coastal passage.

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