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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Tropical Depression 16 is heading toward the Nicaragua coast, with flooding rains expected over portions of Central America.

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As of 11 p.m., the depression was about 70 miles west-northwest of San Andres Island.

The depression is moving toward the northwest near 6 mph, and this motion is expected to continue through early Thursday.

A north-northwestward motion at a faster forward speed is forecast to begin on Thursday and continue through late Friday.

On the forecast track, the center of the depression should move across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras on Thursday and then over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday.

The center is expected to approach the coast of the Yucatan peninsula late Friday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts.

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The depression is forecast to strengthen to a tropical storm before it moves inland over northeastern Nicaragua tomorrow.

Additional strengthening is likely over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for:

  • Sandy Bay Sirpi Nicaragua to Punta Castilla Honduras

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for:

  • Punta Herrero to Cabo Catoche Mexico

The depression is expected to produce the following rain accumulations through Friday night:

  • Nicaragua – 15 to 20 inches, isolated 30 inches
  • Costa Rica and Panama – 5 to 10 inches, isolated 20 inches
  • Honduras – 2 to 5 inches, isolated 8 inches

Heavy rainfall will occur over a wide area, including locations well away from the center along the Pacific coast of Central America. This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to start in the warning area in Nicaragua early on Thursday, and spread into Honduras late Thursday.  Tropical storm and hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area in Mexico beginning late Friday.

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Swells generated by the cyclone are affecting portions of the coast of Nicaragua, and will begin to affect other land areas around the northwestern Caribbean later this week.  These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.