Central America is currently being hit with heavy rain from Tropical Storm Pilar following last week’s deadly Hurricane Otis in Mexico.
El Salvador has declared a State of National Emergency as the strengthening storm threatens the Pacific coast of Central America with over a foot of rain, which could trigger mountain landslides.
“Coming up against the Pacific coast of Mexico, an oddball situation with Otis which turned into a deadly, destructive Category 5 at landfall,” FOX Weather meteorologist Amy Freeze said. “And all of a sudden, we’re watching Pilar under a microscope.”
Tropical Storm Pilar is about 175 south-southwest of San Salvador, El Salvador, moving east-northeast at 3 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 50 mph, and tropical-storm-force winds (39-plus mph) stretch out 70 miles.
A Tropical Storm Watch remains in effect for the entire Pacific coast of El Salvador and Honduras, including the Gulf of Fonseca. Nicaragua is included in the watch from the Honduran border south to Puerto Sandino.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecasts Pilar strengthening to just shy of hurricane strength Tuesday at its closest approach to El Salvador, though the core of the system is expected to remain offshore. The storm is forecast to begin moving west-southwestward away from land by Thursday.
That stall will anchor heavy rain over the coast and mountains. The NHC estimates that the storm will produce 5 to 10 inches of rain, with local amounts of up to 15 inches for portions of Central America from El Salvador to Costa Rica through Wednesday.
By Wednesday, the storm will reverse course and head west-southwestward away from land and weaken slowly.
Dangerous swells will pound the coast for the next several days and trigger life-threatening surf and rip currents, according to the NHC.
Pilar is the 16th named tropical cyclone in the Eastern Pacific.
Mexican authorities are still trying to determine how many are missing after Otis, the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico, devastated Acapulco with 165-mph winds.
The death toll rose to 45 over the weekend, and countless tourists are still stranded after Otis damaged and destroyed 80% of resorts and hotels.
Another disturbance is about 1,000 miles south-southwest of the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula. This system has been dubbed Invest 93E by the NHC, which gives it a low chance of developing into a tropical depression in the next two days.
An invest is a naming convention the NHC uses to identify areas they are investigating for possible development.
If the disturbance did strengthen into a tropical storm, it would be named Ramon.
The hurricane season in the Pacific ends on Nov. 30.
Original article source: Tropical Storm Pilar slamming portions of Central America with up to 15 inches of rain