Hurricane Julia swept past the Colombian islands of San Andrés and Providencia before making landfall as a Category 1 Hurricane near Laguna de Perlas, Nicaragua on 09 October 2022. The storm then weakened as it moved across Central America.
Julia brought torrential rain to areas of Central America, triggering floods and landslides in northern Colombia, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Panama. As of 10 October, over 20 fatalities were reported and thousands of people were displaced.
A trough of low pressure in the region was forecast to bring further heavy rainfall, the National Hurricane Center said.
Hurricane Julia dump heavy rain in parts of northern Colombia, with severe flooding reported in the department of La Guajira on 09 October 2022.
Colombia’s disaster management agency UNGRD said rains associated with Julia affected the 7 municipalities of Riohacha, Uribia, Albania, Hatonuevo, Distracción, Dibulla and Maicao in La Guajira, leaving 48,387 people from 9,819 families affected, 174 homes destroyed, 5,247 homes and a health centre damaged.
President Gustavo Petro carried out a reconnaissance flight over flooded areas on 10 October, and visited the city of Uribia, of which he said was “a city practically split in two” by the floods.
On the small Colombian island of San Andrés near Nicaragua, Hurricane Julia left 2 people with minor injuries, 492 people from 123 families affected, 121 houses damaged and 2 destroyed. In neighbouring Providencia, 4 families were affected, with 4 houses, roads and a health centre damaged.
In Nicaragua, more than 13,000 people were evacuated about 800 houses flooded in North and South Caribbean Coast regions, according to the national civil protection agency SINAPRED. About one million people were left without power. Authorities also reported floods in Grenada Department and heavy rain, floods and wind damage in Managua.
On 10 October the government said it was distributing 2,500 food packages in the municipality of El Rama in the South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region of Nicaragua to serve some 12,500 people.
In Honduras, more than 9,000 people were evacuated due to floods and landslides. Rivers were already high in the country after heavy rainfall through much of late September, when flooding along the Ulúa River in Cortes and Yoro departments affected or displaced several thousand people.
The Ulúa and Chamelecón River were rising once again in areas of Cortes and Yoro following heavy rain from Hurricane Julia. The government said it was distributing relief items to affected populations in the Cortes municipalities of La Lima, where the Chamelecón River broke its banks, Santa Cruz de Yojoa, Pimienta, Potrerillos, among others.
Flooding was also reported in Atlántida and Valle Departments. Hundreds of families were preventively evacuated in Valle Department. However firefighters were called on to rescue residents trapped in floods in El Cubulero.
As of 10 October, five storm-related fatalities were confirmed including a woman who died after she was swept away by flood waters on 09 October, Reuters reported.
In Guatemala, the country’s National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) reported 224 rain-related incidents including floods and landslides as a result of Hurricane Julia, as of 10 October.
CONRED said that a total of 13 people had died, 4 were missing, 11 injured, around 4,500 displaced and 457,298 affected. Over 1,000 homes have been flooded, 45 schools affected, 52 roads and 9 bridges were damaged and 3 bridges totally destroyed.
President Alejandro Giammattei announced a 30-day state of emergency on 10 October to help authorities “implement urgent measures to safeguard the lives of Guatemalans.”
The county’s meteorological agency INSIVUMEH reported more than 100 mm of rain in 11 hours in several locations on 10 October 2022.
As of 10 October rivers were above the danger mark in at least 6 locations, including the Motagua River at Gualán in Zacapa Department which stood at 4.9 metres as of 10 October, where the danger level is 2.7 metres.
Costa Rica’s disaster agency CNE reported 285 incidents of flooding or landslides across the country, mostly in the cantons of the South Pacific. As of 10 October, 533 people had evacuated to 14 shelters. Damage to roads and bridges left several communities isolated in the cantons of Golfito, Buenos Aires and Coto Brus in Puntarenas province, where emergency services and Red Cross teams carried out flood rescues.
In El Salvador the government said 10 people died in the storm, including 5 members of the armed forces who were carrying out rescue and relief operations.
The director of the country’s Civil Protection agency said as of 10 October 1,267 people had moved to shelters. Around 25 rivers overflowed, including the Rio Grande in the municipality of San Miguel, where homes were damaged and residents evacuated.
Military, Civil Protection, firefighters and teams from Cruz Verde Salvadoreña carried out flood rescues in areas of Usulután, San Vicente and San Miguel department, among others. Civil Protection said 395 people were rescued and 513 assisted with evacuation.
The government’s environment ministry reported more than 100 mm of rain in around 20 hours to early 11 October in at least 9 locations across the country.
In Panama, the National Civil Protection System (Sinaproc) reported one person died in a landslide in the province of Colón on 07 October. Around 300 people evacuated their homes in the western province of Chiriquí, bordering Costa Rica.
Heavy Rain Forecast for Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala
As of 10 October, the now downgraded Tropical Storm Julia was tracking northwest across Guatemala.
Meanwhile the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring a trough of low pressure that is expected to move over the far southwestern Gulf of Mexico on 11 October 2022.
NHC said “There is currently a low (30%) chance of formation over the next couple of days. Regardless of development, heavy rain is expected over portions of southern Mexico, Belize, and Guatemala during the next couple of days.”
Uribia, Guajira. En medio del desastre. pic.twitter.com/BUQbxmgzj2
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) October 10, 2022
📍Equipos de trabajo de la municipalidad de #Managua continúan haciendo visitas y atendiendo a las familias afectasdas en distintos puntos de la capital por los fuertes vientos y constantes lluvias que dejara el paso de la #TormentaTropicalJulia
— SINAPRED Nicaragua (@SINAPREDnic) October 10, 2022
El Cubulero Valle, desde horas tempranas nuestros equipos de rescate evacuan familias de zonas afectadas pic.twitter.com/gfW93PAXPC
— BOMBEROS HONDURAS (@BomberosHn) October 11, 2022
— CruzRojaGT (@CRGuatemalteca) October 10, 2022
Cruzrojistas continúan con labores de evacuación en el distrito de Río Claro, cantón de Golfito, donde familias de la comunidad la Esperanza, se ven afectadas por las inundaciones a consecuencia de los efectos indirectos del Huracán Julia. #SomosCruzRojaCostarricense pic.twitter.com/AXWi60YYHQ
— Cruz Roja Costarricense (@CruzRojaCRC) October 9, 2022
17 familias afectadas por las lluvias en Hacienda El Ángel, La Canoa, Usulután, fueron evacuadas por personal de la Primera Brigada de Infantería de Marina, hacia albergue instalado en Casa Comunal El Angel.#DepresiónTropicalJulia #EmergenciaSV pic.twitter.com/ybIXf5m43p
— FUERZA ARMADA (@FUERZARMADASV) October 11, 2022