Skip to main content

Hurricane Richard makes landfall in Belize

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: Hurricane Richard makes landfall with sustained winds of around 90 mph
  • NEW: It came in along the coast just south of Belize City
  • Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula can expect heavy rain and storm surges
  • The storm isn't likely to threaten the United States

(CNN) -- Hurricane Richard made landfall just south of Belize City Sunday night, said CNN Meteorologist Jacqui Jeras.

She said the eye of the hurricane hit land around 7:45 p.m. CT (8:45 p.m. ET), some 20 miles (35 kilometers) south-southwest of Belize City.

The storm known as Richard intensified in the Caribbean from a tropical storm into a Category 1 hurricane as maximum sustained winds increased to 90 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center reported.

The storm is expected to weaken as it moves inland.

Monday, it is seen moving across northern Guatemala and into southern Mexico.

The Belize National Emergency Management Organization said Sunday all public buses have stopped running and advised private cars to also get off the road.

It urged people living in Dangriga, a town in southern Belize, and in vulnerable parts of Belize City to seek shelter immediately. All vessels should remain in port, the organization also advised.

Belize, a small country in Central America popular among tourists for its pristine beaches and coral reefs, has a hurricane warning in effect, the National Hurricane Center reported. A hurricane watch is in effect for areas along the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Along with hurricane force winds, the main threat from the slow-moving Richard is the large amounts of rain it will dump on Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula. It is expected to produce three to six inches of rain with local amounts totaling 10 inches. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in the mountainous terrain.

Hurricane Richard is expected to weaken over land and reemerge in the Bay of Campeche as a tropical depression. Conditions are not favorable for redevelopment in the extreme southwestern Gulf of Mexico. The National Hurricane Center expects Richard to continue to dissipate into a remnant low.

"It is not a concern for the U.S.," said John Cangialosi with the hurricane center. "Even if it does get into the southern Gulf of Mexico, a very strong wind sheer of that area will continue to weaken the system."

A wind sheer is caused when winds go in different directions, causing the storm to weaken.

CNN Meteorologist Monica O'Conner and CNN Radio's Ninette Sosa contributed to this report.