Cancun, Q.R. – Weather system Invest 97L has been officially named Tropical Storm Earl.
The tropical disturbance was found to have reached flight-level winds of 57 mph on Tuesday afternoon. The storm continues to make its way across the Caribbean Sea and is expected to land Belize City Wednesday evening.
Earl is expected to arrive with a disorganized assortment of showers and thunderstorms that will see Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula wet and windy with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph.
As of Tuesday, Earl was tracked moving westward at 22 mph and is expected to slow over the next 24 to 48 hours as the storm approaches land.
A sprawling area of high pressure to the north of Earl will keep the storm moving on a general westerly path. Even though it will slow down a bit over the next day or two, Earl still has less than two days to gather strength before it makes landfall late Wednesday, most likely in Belize, but possibly on the far southeast Mexican coast of the Yucatan peninsula.
Weather.com reports that so far, Earl has downed power lines in Dominican Republic and is responsible for the death of six. The Meteorological Service of Jamaica issued a tropical storm warning for 97L on Monday night, and on Tuesday, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service was cautioning small craft to exercise caution in open waters.
The five-day weather forecast for Playa del Carmen shows a high probability of heavy rain for the rest of the week and into the weekend.