Tropical Storm Julia forms in the Caribbean; likely to hit Central America as a hurricane

Tropical Storm Julia formed Friday morning in the southern Caribbean Sea and is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane as it churns toward Central America over the next couple of days.

"Warm waters and low wind shear should allow the system to ramp up quickly upon reaching the southwestern Caribbean," said AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

A hurricane watch is in effect for most of the east coast of Nicaragua, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 11 a.m. ET Friday, the center of Julia was 110 miles west of the northern tip of Colombia's Guajira Peninsula. It had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving west at 18 mph.

When and where will Julia hit?

The official forecast now brings Julia to the coast of Nicaragua by Sunday morning, which is a little sooner than was expected, according to the Hurricane Center. After landfall, Julia and its remnants should remain over Central America and southern Mexico through Tuesday.

The forecast path of Tropical Storm Julia shows it making landfall in Nicaragua on Sunday morning as a hurricane.
The forecast path of Tropical Storm Julia shows it making landfall in Nicaragua on Sunday morning as a hurricane.

Julia is forecast to make landfall at a similar location to Hurricanes Eta and Iota, a pair of Category 4 storms that devastated the coast of Nicaragua in 2020, AccuWeather said.

Although Nicaragua may see the worst impacts from the storm, AccuWeather said that people living in areas from Panama and Costa Rica to Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and southeastern Mexico should also be prepared for Julia.

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What will be Julia's main impacts?

Some spots in Central America could see as much as 15 inches of rain from Julia, according to the Hurricane Center. This rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides through this weekend.

In addition, a storm surge could raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet above normal tide levels along the immediate coast of Nicaragua in areas of onshore winds.

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Winds of up to 85 mph are possible where the storm makes landfall.

Julia is the 10th named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season, which is about two weeks later than the "J" storm arrives in an average year, said.

The Atlantic hurricane season lasts until Nov. 30.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tropical Storm Julia forms; path to hit Nicaragua as a hurricane