Tropical Storm Amanda has killed at least twenty people in El Salvador as heavy rains made rivers overflow, flooded city streets and produced landslides, Interior Minister Mario Duran said on Sunday.
“We’ve seen people asking for help, asking for the government. We haven’t deployed everywhere, the situation is overwhelming,” said Duran.
The bulk of the victims were in El Salvador, where Amanda led to the deaths of 15 people and the disappearance of seven more, as well as destroying hundreds of homes and damaging roads, the National Commission for Civil Protection said.
Among those killed was an eight-year-old boy, who died after the house he was in collapsed, while another person was killed by a falling wall and another drowned in a swollen river, Salvadoran civil protection authorities said.
Carolina Recinos, a senior aide to Salvadoran President Nayib Bukele, told a news conference that Amanda had dumped the equivalent of “almost 10 percent” of the annual rainfall on the country in a relatively short space of time.
In Guatemala, officials reported the deaths of two people due to the storm, including a boy of nine. The rains killed at least three people in Honduras, including a brother and sister swept into a river in a car, local authorities said.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Amanda or its remnants are expected to produce rain totals of 10 to 15 inches over El Salvador, southern Guatemala, western Honduras, and the Mexican states of Tabasco and Veracruz.
The storm’s heavy rainfall could “cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides across portions of Central America and southern Mexico, and these threats will continue over the next several days even after Amanda is no longer a tropical cyclone,” said the NHC.
Amanda was packing maximum sustained winds of nearly 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour) with higher gusts and was expected to weaken “very soon” as its center moves farther inland, said the NHC.
It was forecast to degenerate into a remnant low or dissipate over the mountains of Central America later on Sunday.
By Monday afternoon, remnants of Amanda were on the western flank of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula and expected to drift west into the Bay of Campeche, a major oil producing area, according to projections by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).
The weather front is likely to form a tropical depression later on Monday or by Tuesday, the Miami-based NHC said.