Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Friday that Tropical Storm Julia had formed off the coast of Colombia's Guajira Peninsula in the southern Caribbean, and that hurricane watches and warnings had been issued in its path to the west, toward Nicaragua.
The center said Julia was 175 kilometers west of the northern tip of the Guajira Peninsula and about 900 kilometers east of Colombia's Providencia Island. It had maximum sustained winds of 65 kph, just over minimum strength for a tropical storm. It was moving west at about 30 kph.
Forecasters said Julia would become a hurricane late Saturday before it reached San Andres and Providencia islands and the coast of Nicaragua.
The government of Colombia upgraded an earlier hurricane watch to a
warning for San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina islands. The government of Nicaragua issued a hurricane watch from Bluefields to the Nicaragua-Honduras border.
The government of Honduras issued a tropical storm watch from the Nicaragua-Honduras border westward to Punta Patuca.
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the northern coasts of Colombia and eastern Venezuela. The hurricane center said rainfall could cause flash flooding and mudslides across portions of Central America Saturday and Sunday.
Residents of Nicaragua and Honduras were urged to monitor the system's progress because additional watches or warnings were likely in parts of those countries later Friday.