Tropical storm Selma slams into El Salvador while new storm takes aim at Cuba and Florida

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 October, 2017, 3:38am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 June, 2018, 3:32am

Tropical Storm Selma made landfall on the coast of El Salvador on Saturday with strong winds, heavy rains and dangerous ocean swells, while another storm in the Caribbean was on a forecast path taking it toward Cuba and then Florida.

The US National Hurricane Centre said Selma hit El Salvador’s coast in the morning before losing strength over land, weakening to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 35mph (55kph). The storm’s centre was located about 45 miles (75 kilometres) east of San Salvador, and it was heading northeast at 8mph (13kph).

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

Salvadoran authorities reported some damage including mudslides, trees that toppled onto roads and rivers threatening to top their banks.

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In the Caribbean Sea, meanwhile, tropical storm Philippe formed off Cuba on Saturday, dumping heavy rains on the island as it churned on a path expected to put it near south Florida overnight, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

The Miami-based Centre said the storm, with top sustained winds near 40 miles per hour (65kph), was forecast to move off the northern coast of Cuba on Saturday evening and then take aim at the Florida Keys or the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.

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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 centre forecast about 2 to 4 inches of rain with higher localised accumulations and possible flash floods in South Florida.