MIAMI, USA — Tropical Depression Sixteen has formed in the western Caribbean, with life-threatening flash floods and mudslides possible over portions of Central America.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 5:00 pm EDT on Wednesday, the centre of Tropical Depression Sixteen was located about 55 miles (85 km) west of San Andres Island and about 180 miles (290 km) south-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border, moving toward the northwest near 7 mph (11 km/h)
This motion is expected to continue Wednesday night and, on the forecast track, the depression should be nearing the coast of Nicaragua early Thursday, move across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras late Thursday, and emerge into the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. The depression is forecast to become a tropical storm overnight Wednesday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua, to Punta Castilla, Honduras. Interests elsewhere in Honduras, the Bay Islands, western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula should monitor the progress of the depression. A hurricane watch could be issued for portions of the Yucatan Peninsula on Wednesday evening.
The depression is expected to produce heavy rainfall over a wide area, including locations well away from the centre along the Pacific coast of Central America. This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to start in the warning area in Nicaragua early on Thursday, and spread into Honduras late Thursday.
Swells generated by the cyclone are affecting portions of the coast of Nicaragua, and will begin to affect other land areas around the northwestern Caribbean later this week. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
Meanwhile, a trough of low pressure located over west-central Cuba and extending northward into the Straits of Florida is producing a broad area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms across the northwestern Bahamas and the adjacent Atlantic waters.
Although significant tropical development of this system is still not expected due to strong upper-level winds, brief squalls will likely produce locally heavy rainfall and strong gusty winds over portions of The Bahamas during the next couple of days.