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Tropical Storm Lisa growing stronger as it heads toward Central America

Mexican forecasters said Lisa could reach Category 1 force overnight ahead of projected landfall.
A satellite image of Tropical Storm Lisa on Tuesday.
A satellite image of Tropical Storm Lisa on Tuesday.NOAA

Tropical Storm Lisa strengthened Tuesday as it pushed across the western Caribbean south of the Cayman Islands and was forecast to make landfall, likely as a hurricane, in Central America as early as Wednesday.

And Mexico was also preparing as Lisa was forecast to strengthen in warm tropical waters and strike Belize late Wednesday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Lisa had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph and was moving west at 15 mph. The center of the storm was about 175 miles east of the Honduran island of Roatan.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Roatan and the other Bay Islands of Roatan, and Guatemala declared a warning for its entire Caribbean coast.

Lisa's likely Category 1 strength, defined in part by maximum sustained winds of 95 mph, is expected to bring very strong to intense rain to the Mexican states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Tabasco, Oaxaca and southern Veracruz, according to Alejandra Margarita Méndez Girón, the general coordinator of the National Meteorological Service.

As much as 12 inches could fall in the state of Chiapas by Saturday, he said. Other states could get roughly half that.

Hurricane expert Philip Klotzbach, a Colorado State University meteorologist, tweeted that Lisa would be the first hurricane to make landfall in Belize during November since 1942.

He added that both Lisa and Martin, the latter a tropical storm in the north-central Atlantic that's about 630 miles east-northeast of Bermuda, could reach hurricane force at about the same time and become simultaneous November hurricanes, which has happened in only two previous seasons.