From staff and wire reports
Published 11:46 PM EDT Sep 2, 2020
PUNTA GORDA, Belize — Hurricane Nana barreled westward Wednesday just off the coast of Honduras on a collision course with the Central American nation of Belize, where thousands of people were stocking up on food, water and construction materials.
Long lines stretched through supermarkets and hardware store shelves were nearly bare as residents of Belize bought materials to board up windows and doors ahead of Nana’s expected landfall early Thursday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported that Nana was located about 60 miles southeast of Belize City with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph as of 11 p.m. EDT, making it a Category 1 hurricane. The storm was moving at 16 mph.
The fifth named hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic season is forecast to bring a “dangerous” storm surge and heavy rain capable of producing flash flooding and mudslides, according to AccuWeather.
“The greatest risk to lives and property in the region will be from flash flooding and mudslides although wind gusts will be strong enough, especially in coastal areas to cause damage to weak structures, knock down trees and trigger power outages,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Rob Miller said.
Belize issued a hurricane warning for its coastline. Drenching rains were expected in Belize, as well as in northern Honduras and throughout Guatemala as the storm crosses the isthmus Thursday.
Local leaders in rural villages in the southernmost district of Toledo were awaiting word from the National Emergency Management Organization to open hurricane shelters.
As evening approached, dark clouds hung on the horizon as uneasy residents awaited the storm’s arrival.
Nana follows Laura, Marco, Isaias and Hanna in an especially active Atlantic season that has also included 15 tropical storms.