Tropical Storm Selma Hits El Salvador; Philippe Eyes Florida

Photo: noaa

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — Tropical Storm Selma made landfall on El Salvador’s coast Saturday with heavy rains and dangerous ocean swells, while Tropical Storm Philippe formed in the Caribbean and was expected to dump heavy rains across South Florida and the Keys after soaking Cuba.

The National Hurricane Center said late Saturday that Selma had largely dissipated over land, but authorities in El Salvador reported mudslides, toppled trees and rivers that threatened to top their banks.

The center said Selma was “expected to produce torrential rains and flash floods through Sunday,” and Salvadoran Civil Defense director Jorge Melendez said the rainfall would be “strong and intense.”

Philippe, meanwhile, was moving toward the north at 29 mph (47 kph) and that motion was expected to continue followed by a turn toward the northeast early Sunday. The center of Philippe will move off the northern coast of Cuba and into the Straits of Florida Saturday, and move across the Florida Keys or the southern tip of the Florida peninsula overnight, according to the hurricane center.

Philippe’s maximum sustained winds were near 40 mph (64 kph) with higher gusts. The storm was located 120 miles (195 kms) south southwest of the Florida Keys.

The hurricane center said the storm was “producing heavy rains across central Cuba and spreading northward over the Florida Keys and South Florida.”

Tropical storm warnings were in place for parts of Cuba and the Bahamas, and a tropical storm watch was issued for the upper Keys and parts of southeastern Florida.

Heavy rains were expected for the Cayman Islands, western and central Cuba and the northern Bahamas. The center forecast about 2 to 4 inches of rain with higher localized accumulations and possible flash floods in South Florida.