Hurricane Beta dissipating over Nicaragua
Oct 31, 2005, 11:56 GMT
Miami/Managua - Hurricane Beta was quickly dissipating overnight Sunday over Nicaragua, after hitting La Barra on the country's Atlantic Coast hours earlier.
At landfall, the storm packed winds of 170 kilometres per hour and brought heavy rainfall, the U.S. Hurricane Centre reported in Miami.
Shortly before midnight Sunday, the storm was centres about 115 kilometres east-northeast of Managua, with maximum sustained winds of 35 kilometres per hour and some higher gusts. The remnants of Beta were expected to cross into the Pacific on Monday.
Striking at Category Two, Beta changed direction off the coast several times as it approached late Saturday and early Sunday, spreading fear and panic as thousands of people fled inland.
Nicaraguan authorities were concerned about two predominantly Indian communities on the Atlantic Coast. Their combined populations of about 3,200 were cut off from the outside world by the storm, and communications had yet to be re-established.
Nicaraguan President Enrique Bolanos appealed for international assistance to deal with the storm and its aftermath. Nicaragua is one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere.
Heavy rain was also expected to cause flooding and landslides in neighbouring Honduras.
The hurricane swept Saturday over the Colombian island of Providencia, causing considerable material damage but without injuring anyone.© dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur