Earl Weakens to Tropical Storm After Making Landfall Near Belize City | NBC New York
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Earl Weakens to Tropical Storm After Making Landfall Near Belize City

Earl is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression by Thursday night or Friday morning

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    AP
    A marine gas station is shut down as it prepares for the arrival of Hurricane Earl, in Puerto Barrios, Guatemala, Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2016. Hurricane Earl bore down on the coast of the Caribbean nation of Belize with the danger of high surf and winds, while also threatening neighboring Guatemala and southern Mexico with torrential rains.

    Earl has weakened to a tropical storm after making landfall in Belize early Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane. 

    The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Earl's maximum sustained winds decreased to near 65 mph (105 kph) with additional weakening expected as the storm moves farther inland. Earl is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression by Thursday night or Friday morning. 

    Meanwhile, Mexico has discontinued all warnings associated with the storm and Belize has replaced its hurricane warning with a tropical storm warning.

    Earl is centered about 90 miles (145 kilometers) west of Belize City, Belize, and is moving west near 15 mph (24 kph).

    On Wednesday, Earl raked the northern coast of Honduras with heavy rain. Officials said a big wave capsized a lobster fishing boat in the Caribbean, but all but two of the 83 people on board were rescued. The navy was looking for the two missing. Authorities also rescued four families in the coastal city of Trujillo after a river flooded.

    Lisandro Rosales, head of Honduras' emergency commission, said there were reports of large numbers of trees and utility poles being knocked down. Schools and universities closed across Honduras' coastal provinces, as did two commercial airports.

    In Belize, the government opened storm shelters and used radio and television broadcasts to urge residents of low-lying areas to move to higher ground.

    Officials also ordered the international airport in Belize City to close, and archaeological reserves and national parks were shut. The Belize Tourism Board announced that cruise ship calls had been canceled for this week.

    Employees of the Caribbean Villas Hotel, in San Pedro on Belize's Ambergris Caye, pulled in beach chairs and chaise longues as rain began to fall on the popular beach resort.

    "Anything that's not anchored in, we've pulled back and out of the way," said hotel manager Paul Jewitt.