(AP) — Eta moved into Honduras Wednesday afternoon as a weakened tropical depression but still bringing the heavy rains that have drenched and caused deadly landslides in the country’s east and in northern Nicaragua.
The storm no longer carried the winds of the Category 4 hurricane that battered Nicaragua’s coast Tuesday, but it was moving so slowly and dumping so much rain that much of Central America was on high alert. Eta had sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) and was moving westward at 7 mph (11 kph). It was 70 miles (115 kilometers) east of Tegucigalpa.
The long-term forecast shows Eta taking a turn over Central America and then reforming in the Caribbean — possibly reaching Cuba on Sunday and southern Florida on Monday.
Heavy rain was forecast to continue across Honduras through at least Thursday as Eta moved northward through the country toward the capital of Tegucigalpa and northern city of San Pedro Sula.
Before the center of Eta had even reached Honduras, hundreds of residents had been forced from their homes by floodwaters.
Early Tuesday, a 12-year-old girl died in a mudslide in San Pedro Sula, according to Marvin Aparicio of Honduras’ emergency management agency.
On Wednesday afternoon, confirmation came from Honduras’ emergency management agency of the death of a 15-year-old boy in the central Honduras town of Sulaco, though details were not immediately available. That brought the storm’s death toll to at least four in Nicaragua and Honduras.
Aparicio said Wednesday some 379 homes had been destroyed, mostly by floodwaters. There were 38 communities cut off by washed out roads and five bridges in the country were wiped out by swollen rivers.