Earl has been upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane with 75 mph winds, as of 5 PM Wednesday.
Hurricane Warnings are in place for the coastline of Belize, where Earl will make landfall early Thursday morning. Earl is expected to weaken back to tropical storm status after moving over the Yucatan Peninsula late Thursday. There is a small window for restrengthening back into a tropical storm Friday as Earl moves over the southern Gulf of Mexico. A second landfall in southern Mexico will happen Saturday, with Earl rapidly weakening after landfall.
The tropical wave we’ve been keeping a close eye on for the last few days has finally developed into a Tropical Storm, and could continue to strengthen.
The National Hurricane Center started issuing advisories for Tropical Storm Earl at 12PM Tuesday, and since then the storm has continued on a westward track and has strengthened some.
At 8PM Tuesday, the storm is located about 395 miles east of Belize City, moving west at 16 mph with max sustained winds of 60 mph. The minimum central pressure of the storm is 996 mb.
The storm is forecast to continue moving west through Thursday. If the storm does continue on this track, the center of Earl should pass just north of the Honduras Bay Islands Wednesday afternoon, and then be near the Belize coast early Thursday.
Wind within Earl has already strengthened some just between the 5 PM and 8 PM advisories from the NHC, and the storm is forecast to strengthen some more, but the NHC is not forecasting Earl to reach hurricane status at this time. Earl could be *near* hurricane strength as it approaches Belize and the Yucatan peninsula, but hurricane strength would require 74 mph wind or greater.
Wind, rain and storm surge are the most significant concerns regarding Tropical Storm Earl.