Storm moves for U.S. coast
MANAGUA, NICARAGUA » Newly formed Tropical Storm Nate was blamed Thursday for at least 17 deaths across Central America as it dumped rain across the region on a path that would carry it toward a potential landfall on the U. S. Gulf Coast as a hurricane over the weekend. Louisiana officials ordered some people there to evacuate.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm could cause dangerous flooding by dumping asmuch as 15 to 20 inches of rain on Nicaragua, with higher accumulations in a few places.
It had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph at midday Thursday and was likely to strengthen over the northwestern Carib- bean Sea today before possibly striking the Cancun region at the tip of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
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 in that country due to the storm. She didn’t 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.
In Louisiana, officials ordered the evacuation of part of coastal St. Bernard Parish east of New Orleans ahead of the storm.