Tropical Storm Pilar slammed into Central America on Tuesday with heavy rainfall that has been blamed for two deaths in El Salvador as the storm meanders off the Pacific coast.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said early Tuesday that Pilar was located about 175 miles south-southwest of San Salvador with winds of 50 mph and moving east-northeast at 3 mph.
The storm was expected to maintain that general track on Tuesday, stall for a day or more just off the coast, then turn sharply and head out to sea again on Thursday without making landfall, the center said.
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The storm was forecast to drop five to 10 inches of rain from El Salvador to Costa Rica with up to 15 inches in some areas.
A 24-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman were swept away by swollen streams on Sunday in La Union province, according to Fermín Pérez, assistant director of El Salvador’s civil defense office. Pérez said their bodies were found on Monday.
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El Salvador’s government put the country on alert Sunday and Congress declared a national state of emergency, which allows civil defense authorities to force the evacuation of people at risk.
Classes were suspended across the country until Wednesday and about 100 shelters were set up.
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Further up the Pacific coast, Mexican authorities continued recovery efforts after Category 5 Hurricane Otis hit Acapulco last week, killing at least 46 and leaving dozens missing.