Tropical depression Lisa reaches Mexico after landfall in Belize

The storm has lost some momentum after whipping through Belize Wednesday, but experts warn of heavy rains in Mexico.

A satellite image of Tropical Storm Lisa
A satellite image from November 1, 2022 shows Lisa in the Caribbean Sea several days before making landfall in Belize, unleashing winds of up to 120km/h [NOAA via AP Photo]

Tropical Depression Lisa has crossed into southern Mexico one day after making landfall as a hurricane in the neighbouring country of Belize, where it knocked out power in the country’s largest city.

Lisa moved into southern Mexico on Thursday, bringing winds of 55km/h (35mph) and warnings of heavy rains, flooding and mudslides from the US National Hurricane Center.

“Lisa weakens to a depression but still brings heavy rains to portions of southeastern Mexico,” the center said on its website. The agency said that the storm could bring between 10 to 15cm (4 to 6 inches) of rain to the Mexican states of Tabasco and Chiapas.

No deaths or major damage have been reported as a result of Lisa thus far. But the hurricane brought fierce winds of up to 120km/h (75mph) when it made landfall on Wednesday outside of Belize City, the country’s main commercial port, knocking out power and uprooting trees.

“It is a scary experience,” said Angelica Escalante, who works in the town of Sand Hill just outside Belize City and expressed concern about her neighbours’ homes. “Their roofs might not be strong enough for this weather.”

Authorities in Belize reported that some homes lost sheet-metal roofs as a result of the storm and that some flooding occurred.

The Belize government’s emergency services also announced on Wednesday that a state of emergency was in effect through Thursday. Officials advised people living in vulnerable areas to move to shelters, noting that border crossings, ports and airports have also been closed.

Lisa was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical storm on Wednesday as it moved across Belize and northern Guatemala, and has now been downgraded further to a tropical depression.

It is now moving west at about 17km/h (10mph) and was expected to enter the Gulf of Mexico by Friday. Weather models have predicted that Lisa will reach the Bay of Campeche in the southern region of the Gulf, home to numerous offshore oil drilling rigs.

However, Lisa is expected to have weakened by the time it reaches the area.

Hurricanes have continued to increase in scope, frequency, and destructiveness, driven partly due to changes resulting from climate change.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies