Tropical Storm Miriam turned away from the Pacific coast Tuesday after heavy rains cut short a cycling race in Guatemala and sent children home from school early in southern Mexico.
Guatemala, El Salvador and southern Mexico, barely affected by the storm that left at least 111 dead in five other Latin American countries, called off states of alert that had been in effect Sunday and Monday.As Hurricane Joan, the storm killed 21 people in Costa Rica, four in Panama, 25 in Colombia and 11 in Venezuela. It also claimed 50 lives in Nicaragua as it tore from the Atlantic to the Pacific before being downgraded to a tropical storm and renamed Miriam.
The storm affected all Central American countries except tiny Belize and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.
Forecasters had feared it would regain strength and become a hurricane again as it reached the warm waters of the Pacific, but it did not.
At 11 a.m. EDTTuesday, Miriam's center was near latitude 14.8 north, longitude 94.2 west, or about 75 miles off the coast of Mexico in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, according to the National Hurricane Center in Coral Gables, Fla.
The center said the storm had maximum sustained winds of near 50 mph and was expected to resume heading west northwest at about nine mph. A storm becomesa hurricane when maximum sustained winds reach 74 mph.
Flash flood and mud slide warnings remained in effect today for Guatemala and El Salvador.
About 1,500 people living near coastal rivers in El Salvador were evacuated Monday. The airport opened Monday morning after being closed Sunday.
Nicaragua suffered the most from Hurricane Joan as it lashed the Caribbean coast and then ripped its way over land to the Pacific.
The Nicaraguan government said about 300,000 people were homeless and at least 40 people were missing.
Bluefields, a Nicaraguan port city on the Caribbean with a population of 38,000, was in tatters, with at least 6,000 homes destroyed and few buildings stillwith roofs. Officials said at least 21 people were killed.