Tropical Storm Pilar Pummels Central America: A State of Emergency in Effect

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By LatAm Reports Editor

Tropical Storm Pilar is aggressively showering Central America with torrential rain, following the destructive path Hurricane Otis left in Mexico last week. El Salvador has elevated its response to a State of National Emergency as the intensifying storm poses an ominous threat of unleashing over a foot of rain along the Pacific coast, raising fears of potential mountain landslides.

Positioning itself approximately 165 miles south-southwest of San Salvador, El Salvador, Pilar is gradually drifting east-northeast at a speed of 3 mph. The storm boasts maximum sustained winds of 50 mph, extending tropical-storm-force winds up to 70 miles outward.

Precautionary measures have led to the implementation of a Tropical Storm Watch across the Pacific coasts of El Salvador and Honduras, encompassing areas like the Gulf of Fonseca, and extending its vigilance to parts of Nicaragua from the Honduran border to Puerto Sandino.

Forecasts by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) predict Pilar nearing hurricane strength by Tuesday as it closely approaches El Salvador, albeit with its core remaining predominantly offshore. A significant shift in the storm’s trajectory is anticipated by Thursday, marking a west-southwestward retreat away from land.

The relentless downpour is expected to saturate regions from El Salvador to Costa Rica, with rainfall accumulations ranging between 5 to 10 inches, and localized areas bracing for up to 15 inches through Wednesday. Coastal areas are bracing for the onslaught of perilous swells, set to unleash life-threatening surf and rip currents over the subsequent days.

Tropical Storm Pilar has been categorized as the 16th named cyclone in the Eastern Pacific’s turbulent season.