JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The season's fifth named tropical system made landfall over Belize, early Thursday morning.
Wednesday afternoon, a NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft measured sustained 75 mph and the National Hurricane Center upgraded the tropical storm to a hurricane. The storm was centered about 65 miles east of Belize City.
The minimum pressure was 29.06 inches, or 984 millibars.
NHC forecasters in Miami said that Earl would bring heavy rains, flooding and high winds to Mexico, Belize and Honduras. A hurricane warning is in effect for Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico south to the Belize/Guatemala border and the Bay Island, Honduras.
In Belize, the government opened storm shelters and used radio and television broadcasts to urge residents of low-lying areas to move to higher ground. The shelters were still empty on Wednesday morning, however.
On Sunday, Earl was a weaker tropical wave, but knocked down power lines and started a fire that killed six passengers on a bus in the Dominican Republic.
The storm will likely continue across the Yucatan peninsula into the Bay of Campeche, where redevelopment will be likely and a tropical storm and/or hurricane watch may be required for the east coast of Mexico by Thursday.
Earl poses no threat to the United States, although remnants of the storm could bring rain to Texas by the weekend.