Tropical storm Julia kills at least 25 in Central America as it heads towards Mexico

At least 830 people were evacuated. PHOTO: AFP

SAN SALVADOR - The death toll from tropical storm Julia rose to at least 25 on Monday, officials said, with most victims coming from El Salvador and Guatemala, as the weakening storm dumped heavy rainfall on a swath of Central America and southern Mexico.

Salvadoran authorities reported the deaths of 10 people, including five soldiers, and said more than 1,000 people were evacuated.

In Guatemala, eight were killed between Sunday and Monday, according to officials, while seven were injured and hundreds more affected by the storm.

Authorities in both El Salvador and Guatemala also cancelled classes on Monday.

In Honduras, five victims have been confirmed including a woman who died Sunday after she was swept away by flood waters, and a four-year-old boy in a boat that capsized near the Nicaragua border on Saturday night, officials said.

Panama's emergency services confirmed later on Monday two deaths as a result of heavy rains, along with around 300 people evacuated from communities near the country's border with Costa Rica.

Julia made landfall Sunday on Nicaragua's Caribbean coast before crossing into the Pacific Ocean.

On Monday, the storm was moving northwest at 24kmh along the coast of El Salvador toward Guatemala, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The Miami-based NHC estimated Julia's maximum sustained winds at about 45kmh

The NHC warned of life-threatening surf and rip conditions along the coasts of El Salvador and Guatemala, while heavy rain could still cause flash flooding..

It predicted an additional 2.5 to 10cm of rain in El Salvador and southern Guatemala, and 7.5 to 15cm on Mexico’s Tehuantepec isthmus.

The storm system is expected to weaken further Monday, the NHC said.

Honduran authorities added that 9,200 people sought refuge in shelters.

In Nicaragua, Julia left a million people without power and heavy rains and floods forced the evacuations of more than 13,000 families. REUTERS

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