Storm moves for U.S. coast

The Mercury News Weekend - - NEWS - By Luis Manuel Galeano

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.

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