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Tropical Storm Celia forms in Pacific; Blas heads out to sea

June 17, 2022 GMT

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Tropical Storm Celia formed off Central America Friday, as Hurricane Blas headed out to sea off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast.

The tropical storm is expected to remain off the coast of El Salvador and Guatemala over the weekend before veering away from land next week. That could bring large rainfalls to the already-soaked Central American countries.

But the U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that “heavy rains are likely over portions of Central America regardless of how close the forecast tropical-storm force winds get to the coast.”

Authorities in El Salvador said a half dozen people had died during a week of rains influenced by Blas and other weather systems.

The Hurricane Center said Celia had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) and was about 145 miles (235 kms) south of San Salvador. It was moving north-northeast at 3 mph (6 kph).

On Friday Blas was located about 320 miles (515 kms) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico with maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph) and was moving west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph).

The hurricane was bringing dangerous surf to the coast. The region was battered when Hurricane Agatha came ashore near Puerto Angel on May 30.

Forecasters expected Blas to start weakening Saturday as it stayed over open waters and moved farther out into the Pacific.