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Central America: Thousands affected by intense rainy season

Intense rainy season kills dozens of people in Central America; hundreds of thousands more affected

TIMEFRAME expected from 10/6/2017, 12:00 AM until 10/9/2017, 11:59 PM (America/Tegucigalpa). COUNTRY/REGION El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama

Event

A particularly intense rainy season in Central America has reportedly resulted in dozens of deaths and has affected hundreds of thousands of others, destroying homes and infrastructure. Significant transportation disruptions were also reported across much of the region. Among the countries most severely impacted by the rainy season's floods and consequent landslides include Honduras (32 confirmed deaths), Guatemala (26 confirmed deaths), Panama (6 confirmed deaths), El Salvador (6 confirmed deaths), and Nicaragua (no deaths reported, but at least 200 homes flooded). Additional rains and transportation disruptions are possible in the coming weeks, as the regional rainy season typically lasts until early November.

Context

Regional weather observatories recently reported that precipitation in Central America has been 25-50 percent higher in September and October than the historical average.

The rainy season in Central America typically lasts from late May until early November, and coincides with much of the Atlantic hurricane season. The hurricane season officially runs from June 1 to November 30, with a peak of storm activity typically observed in late August and September.

Advice

Individuals in the affected areas are advised to follow all instructions as issued by local authorities, monitor the situation and weather forecasts, and anticipate transportation disruptions and potentially hazardous conditions in affected areas. Remember that driving or walking through running water can be dangerous; 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult. Finally, because floodwater may also contain wastewater or chemical products, wear boots and try to avoid any contact with the water. All items having come into contact with the water should be washed and disinfected and any foodstuffs discarded.

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