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Central America and Caribbean

Tropical Storm Harvey expected to become hurricane Saturday

Reuters

Central American emergency services were on alert Saturday as Tropical Storm Harvey, which is forecast to turn into a full-fledged hurricane, crossed the Caribbean.

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By 1200 GMT, Harvey was around 170 kilometres south-east of Belize City, with maximum sustained winds 95 kilometres per hour.

Over 50,000 people have died over the past four decades from natural disasters that have also caused billions of dollars in damages in the region, which the United Nations considers among the world's most vulnerable to climate change.

It was moving westward at 19 kilometres per hour, the Miami-based US National Hurricane Center said.

The NHC said Harvey could become a hurricane before it moves inland Saturday afternoon or evening and that a US Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter was en route to the storm to carry out measurements.

Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico issued tropical storm warnings, although the NHC said Mexico has cancelled its warning for the south-eastern Yucatan Peninsula, while Nicaragua braced for heavy rainfall.

Strong winds were also possible along the northern coasts of both Honduras and along Guatemala.

Stormy weather killed hundreds of people last year in central America.
 

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