Tropical storm Matthew has formed in the southern Caribbean and is threatening to upgrade to a hurricane as it heads towards Honduras, Guatemala and Belize by tomorrow night (Friday).
The area has already suffered from heavy rains throughout this hurricane season as a succession of storms has saturated the ground across the region causing landslides, flooding and damage to property. Matthew currently has 40mph sustained wind speeds but these are expected to gather pace by early Saturday morning to around 60mph and as it gathers more strength over the seas towards Belize it will upgrade to hurricane status (winds >75mph sustained) by Sunday morning.
Its path will directly affect northern Nicaraguan coastline, Honduras, east coast of Guatemala, Belize and eventually into southern Mexico. It is currently moving at a steady 16mph, by Monday its path is expected to change direction and head towards the western tip of Cuba and long range predictions estimate its strength will be maintained at hurricane status.
The Florida Keys are only around 200 miles north of this region so Matthew may be one to keep an eye on during the course of next week reports the National Hurricane Centre (NHC).
Since the arrival of Tropical Storm Agatha in late May, heavy rain has caused destruction in Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. Costa Rica, Honduras and Nicaragua all declared alert status. Panama will be spared in the region.