New Tropical Storm Bonnie heads for Central America

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MEXICO CITY — Tropical Storm Bonnie formed over the Caribbean Friday as it headed for a rapid march through Central America and possible development into a hurricane after resurfacing in the Pacific Ocean.

The US National Hurricane Center said Bonnie was headed for the Nicaragua-Costa Rica border area. It was expected to cause significant flooding, with rains of up to 8 inches (about 200 millimeters), and even more in isolated places.

It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) early Friday evening and was centered about 80 miles (130 kilometers) south-southeast of Bluefields on Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast, moving west by 28 km /you.

On Friday it started to rain in Bluefields and authorities said they had set up 50 temporary shelters.

Many of Bluefields’ 57,000 residents began nailing boards to their windows in preparation for the storm. Many Nicaraguans remember Hurricane Joan, a powerful storm in 1988 that caused massive damage to the Atlantic coast, killing nearly 150 in the country.

“We’re waiting for the storm to break, hoping it won’t destroy our region,” said Bluefields resident Ricardo Gómez, who was 8 when Joan struck.

The area was also hit in quick succession in 2020 by two powerful hurricanes, Eta and Iota, causing an estimated $700 million in damage.

Officials in Costa Rica expressed concern that the storm would cause landslides and flooding in an area already saturated by days of rain.

The government of Costa Rica said seven shelters in the north of the country have already displaced nearly 700 people due to flooding.

A week ago, a massive landslide cut off the main road connecting the capital San Jose to the Caribbean coast and remained closed Friday. The government canceled classes nationwide on Friday.

Heavy rains had also destroyed or damaged a number of bridges.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the Colombian island of San Andres and from Cabo Blanco in Costa Rica north to Puerto Sandino in Nicaragua.

The hurricane center said it was expected to emerge over the Pacific on Saturday and gain strength as it moves roughly parallel to the coast across the Pacific over the next few days.

The fast-moving disturbance has been inundating parts of the Caribbean since Monday without meeting criteria for a named tropical storm until Friday.

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