- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 31, 2008

AMBERGIS CAYE, Belize (AP) A weak tropical storm formed today off the Yucatan Peninsula and quickly made landfall at the Belize-Mexico border, dumping rain and kicking up surf.

The first named storm of the 2008 Atlantic Hurricane Season, Arthur was moving northwest across the Yucatan with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The storm formed one day before the official start of the season June 1, hitting land near the Mexican port city of Chetumal and Belize’s Corozal city. It dumped rain as far south as Belize City and kicked up strong surf on the popular tourist island of Ambergis Caye.

Tropical storm warnings were issued for Belize and Mexico’s Caribbean coastline.

In the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, which includes the popular resort of Cancun, ports were closed and all water sports were banned. Residents and tourists were encouraged to take precautions in coastal areas, said state Civil Protection Director Carlos Rodriguez Hoy.

Ports were also closed on the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres and in Chetumal.

Authorities expected rains of up to a little more than 1 inch due to the passing remnants of Arthur, Mr. Rodriguez said.

In northern Belize, the National Emergency Management Organization expected about 4 inches of rain and warned of possible flooding around the Azul Hondo River.

Rain and rough seas ruined vacations for tourists in Ambergis Caye.

“I just came to lay in the sun and get a nice tan, but so far there hasn’t been any sunshine,” said Debbie Fountaineau, a police officer from Lake Charles, Louisiana, who arrived on the island Thursday.

The storm was projected to weaken as it crosses the Yucatan before moving out into the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical depression early Sunday.

There was chance it could strengthen back into a tropical storm before hitting Mexico again south of Veracruz on Tuesday. It was not expected to become a hurricane.

At 8 p.m. EDT, the center of the storm was located inland over the southern Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, about 55 miles (86 kilometers) west of Chetumal, Mexico. It was moving to the west-northwest near 7 miles per hour.

The storm was expected to stay well away from the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Associated Press writer Jorge Dominguez in Cancun, Mexico, contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times is switching its third-party commenting system from Disqus to Spot.IM. You will need to either create an account with Spot.im or if you wish to use your Disqus account look under the Conversation for the link "Have a Disqus Account?". Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More

Click to Hide