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El Salvador declares state of emergency over coming tropical storm Pilar

El Salvador declares state of emergency over coming tropical storm Pilar
Customers at a street market in San Salvador, El Salvador, on Thursday, June 1, 2023. Photographer: Camilo Freedman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

SAN SALVADOR, Oct 29 (Reuters) - El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele declared a state of emergency on Sunday over tropical storm Pilar, which the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) says is expected to dump heavy rains and cause floods along the coast within the next 48 hours.

The government issued a “red” alert, the highest of a four-level scale, and suspended classes. The emergency decree will enable the government to direct funds to handle the situation.

Some flooding has already been reported on the central coast and in the east.

Pilar is expected to be near El Salvador’s coast on Tuesday night or early Wednesday, though it said “the core of the system is forecast to stay offshore,” the NHC said in an advisory issued late on Sunday.

Winds are currently near 40 miles per hour (65 km/h), the NHC said, noting that they could grow fiercer.

“Additional strengthening is forecast over the next couple of days, and Pilar could be near hurricane strength by Tuesday,” the center said.

The Mexican city of Acapulco on the Pacific coast is reeling from Hurricane Otis that last week caused massive destruction as a Category 5 storm, killing 48 people.

Honduras has also issued a Tropical Storm Watch for its Pacific coast, according to the NHC.

(Reporting by Gerardo Arbaiza in San Salvador, Writing by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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