Hurricane Felix Heads for Honduras With 165-Mph Winds (Update3)
By Alex Morales
Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Hurricane Felix plowed across the
Caribbean on a course that's forecast to take its 165 miles-per-
hour winds close to Honduras tomorrow before the system slams
into Belize the following day.
Felix, a ``dangerous'' Category 5 storm, the highest level
on the Saffir-Simpson scale, was centered about 425 miles (685
kilometers) east of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Honduras-Nicaragua
border, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory on
its Web site at about 8 a.m. Miami time. The system was heading
west at 21 mph.
``It's a very powerful storm: There could be catastrophic
damage,'' Trisha Wallace, a meteorologist at the center, said
today in a telephone interview. ``It's going to be right along
the north coast of Nicaragua and Honduras tomorrow afternoon.''
In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Henriette continued to move
parallel to the Mexican coast on a path toward Baja California
Sur. Henriette is forecast to hit the state at hurricane strength
tomorrow. With sustained winds of 65 mph, Henriette was about 255
miles south-southeast of the southern tip of Baja California, and
heading northwest at 9 mph at 5 a.m. Miami time.
Henriette prompted landslides in and around the resort city
of Acapulco that killed six people, including five children, the
government of Guerrero state said in a statement on its Web site.
As much as 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain may fall along
parts of Mexico's west coast, and may produce life-threatening
flash floods and mudslides, the hurricane center said.
Baja California Sur's southern tip was under a hurricane
watch from La Paz southward on the east coast and from Santa Fe
southward on the west coast.
As Hurricane Felix approached in the Caribbean, Honduras
issued a hurricane warning from Limon on the north coast to the
border with Nicaragua, and a watch was placed from Limon westward
to the Guatemalan border. The Bay Islands were placed on red
alert, and the regions of Gracias a Dios, Colon, Atlantida,
Olancho, Cortes and Yoro were put on yellow alert, according to
the Honduras Permanent Commission of Contingencies Web Site.
Farther north, Jamaica and Grand Cayman were under a
tropical-storm watch, while to the west, Guatemala and Belize
issued hurricane watches for their Caribbean coastlines.
Felix is the second hurricane of the June-to-November
Atlantic season. Dean last month killed at least a dozen people
in the Caribbean, on a course that was north of Felix's predicted
Dean also prompted the evacuation of Mexican oil facilities
in the Gulf, cutting production by almost 2.7 million barrels a
day. Full production was restored on Aug. 29, according to the
Web site of Petroleos Mexicanos, the state-owned oil company.
Felix's forecast track will take it close to some of Mexico's
offshore oilfields, including Cantarell, the largest. Crude oil
today traded near a four-week high in New York.
Rainfall totals of up to 12 inches may fall in northern
Honduras and northeastern Nicaragua, with the potential to cause
flash floods and mudslides, the center said. Because Felix's
hurricane-force winds extend only 30 miles from its center, the
storm's worst effects will be confined to a localized area,
``The hurricane-force winds are going to affect a very small
area, and Felix is moving fast, so it won't be around for long,''
Wallace said. ``Still, in the small area where it does make
landfall, it's going to be a very major hurricane.''
Felix was forecast to weaken as it passes along the northern
coast of Honduras, and may hit Belize as a Category 2 storm, with
winds of 96 to 110 mph, the meteorologist said.
To contact the reporter on this story:
Alex Morales in London at email@example.com