Tropical Storm Julia is expected to strengthen into a hurricane in the southern Caribbean on Saturday, National Hurricane Center forecasters said.
The storm formed Friday morning approaching the southern Caribbean, a path generally similar to the initial formation of Hurricane Ian.
But while Ian turned north toward the Gulf and then headed toward Florida’s Gulf coast, Julia poses a threat to areas of South and Central America.
Nicaragua upgraded hurricane watches to hurricane warnings from Laguna de Perlas to Puerto Cabezas on Friday evening, the center’s latest advisory said, and a tropical storm warning is in place for north of Puerto Cabezas to the Honduras/Nicaragua border, south of Laguna de Perlas to Bluefields and in Honduras from the Nicaragua/Honduras border to Punta Patuca.
Hurricane warnings are in place for several islands near Colombia and from Laguna de Perlas to Puerto Cabezas in Nicaragua, the advisory said.
Hurricane watches are in place in Nicaragua south of Laguna de Perlas to Bluefields and in Nicaragua north of Puerto Cabezas to the Hondruas/Nicaragua border.
Julia is moving west near 18 mph, the hurricane center said in its 8 p.m. update. Additional strengthening is forecast, and the storm is expected to become a hurricane Saturday evening before it reaches San Andres and Providencia Islands and the coast of Nicaragua on Sunday morning, forecasters said.
As of 8 p.m., Julia was located about 140 miles north-northwestof Barranquilla, Colombia. It has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 80 miles from Julia’s center.
Julia is expected to weaken rapidly once it moves over land Sunday, the hurricane center said, and will dissipate by Monday.
The next named storm to form would be Karl. Hurricane season ends Nov. 30.