SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A storm that has hurled rain on the southern Caribbean and the northern shoulder of South America was expected to hit Central America as a tropical storm over the weekend and eventually develop into a hurricane over the Pacific, forecasters said Thursday.
The fast-moving disturbance known merely as Potential Tropical Cyclone Two has been drenching parts of the Caribbean region since Monday without ever meeting the criteria for a named tropical storm.
On Thursday, it was blowing past the northernmost part of Colombia and was centered about 600 miles east of Bluefields on Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
It was moving west at 20 mph and was projected to hit the Nicaragua-Costa Rica area as a tropical storm by late Friday or Saturday.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph — right at the edge of tropical storm force, through with ragged wind circulation, apparently due to its rapid advance westward. The Hurricane Center said that pace should be slowing.
The storm was expected to drop 3 to 5 inches of rain on parts of northern Colombia, then 4 to 8 inches on Nicaragua and Costa Rica, posing the threat of flash flooding.
Venezuela and several Caribbean islands closed schools as the storm approached over recent days.
Forecasters also are watching two other disturbances in the tropics. One is in the western Gulf of Mexico and was expected to move onto the southern Texas coast later Thursday. The other is several hundred miles east of the Windward Islands and is showing little chance of strengthening, forecasters said.
Times staff writer Chris Tisch contributed to this report.
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