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A storm system in the Caribbean is on track to reach Nicaragua this weekend as a hurricane, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned on Thursday.

The storm, which has not yet formed a tropical depression, would likely be named “Julia” if it becomes at least a tropical storm, a cyclone with wind speeds of 39 miles per hour (63 kilometres per hour) or greater.

The system is forecast to reach tropical storm status by Friday morning and strengthen into a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall in Nicaragua on Sunday.

NHC is cautioning that “heavy rains, and the potential for flash flooding and mudslides” could hit Central America this weekend.

As the storm moves west, parts of Colombia, Venezuela and some southern Caribbean islands may see “heavy rainfall” and “life-threatening flash flooding”, the agency adds.

By the time it makes landfall on Nicaragua’s east coast, the storm could bring six to 10 inches (15 – 25 centimetres) of rainfall in parts of the country, with isolated spots receiving up to 16 in (41 cm). The storm’s potential path could then bring severe weather to Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, Belize and southern Mexico as it weakens into a tropical depression, NHC says.

This is a breaking story, more to follow

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