Earl, the fifth named storm of the Atlantic season, is expected to become a hurricane before landfall as it neared Belize on a track that may take it into the oil-rich Bay of Campeche by the end of the week. (Headline pic: Ambergris Caye residents line up at sunrise to evacuate the island on water taxi - photo by Kent Bob Gabourel)
Tropical Storm Earl is nearing hurricane strength; a Hurricane Warning has been issued by the government of Honduras for the Bay Islands, and continues from Puerto Costa Maya, Mexico, southward to the Belize/Guatemala border. A Tropical Storm Warning continues for the north coast of Honduras from Cabo Gracias a Dios westward to the Honduras/Guatemala border, and north of Puerto Costa Maya to Punta Allen, Mexico.
Earl is centered about 120 miles (195 km) east of Isla Roatan, Honduras, and 265 miles (425 km) east-southeast of Belize City, Belize. On the forecast track, the core of Earl is expected to pass near the Honduras Bay Islands this afternoon, and then make landfall in Belize tonight or early Thursday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 70 mph (110 km/h)with higher gusts. Additional strengthening during the next 24 hours is forecast, and Earl is likely to become a hurricane later today. A NOAA Hurricane Hunter aircraft is currently investigating Earl.
Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast of Honduras, including the Bay Islands, this morning, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. These conditions will reach Belize and Mexico within the hurricane and tropical storm warning area by tonight or early Thursday. Hurricane conditions are expected to begin in the Bay Islands of Honduras later today and in portions of the hurricane warning area in Belize and Mexico tonight or early Thursday.
Today's sunrise, San Pedro, Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - Robert Hawkins
Early morning beach veiw, San Pedro, Wednesday, August 3, 2016 - Lisa Rusinek-Cyrier