The GOES-13 satellite is watching Tropical Storm Richard work its way through the western Caribbean, and residents of eastern Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula are bracing for its impacts as it is forecast to strengthen to hurricane status this weekend. Richard is going to be a big rainmaker for those countries.
The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite called GOES-13 captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Richard at 1732 UTC (1:32 p.m. EDT) on Oct. 22. GOES satellites are managed by NOAA. NASA's GOES Project at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. creates images and animations from the satellite data and created today's image that shows Richard's clouds are already over the Honduras/Nicaragua border as it heads toward Belize for landfall this weekend.
Watches and warnings are already in effect as residents are bracing for Richard's arrival as a hurricane. A hurricane watch is in effect for Honduras from the Nicaragua/Honduras Border westward to Limon, and a tropical storm warning is in effect for Honduras from the Nicaragua/Honduras Border westward to Limon.
At 2 p.m. EDT on Oct. 22, Richard was still a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph, but he is expected to intensify in the warm waters of the western Caribbean before he makes landfall. Richard's center is located about 140 miles east-northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border, near 15.8 North and 81.3 West. It is moving west at 3 mph and has a minimum central pressure of 1006 millibars.
Richard is expected to be a big rainmaker, with maximum storm totals between 5 and 7 inches. With this amount of rain, flash flooding and mudslides are possible. Winds will pick up as Richard continues its slow crawl to land. Northeastern Honduras can expect tropical storm conditions late Saturday.