Tropical Storm Pilar Kills 2 in El Salvador

Heavy rains linked to Tropical Storm Pilar have caused at least two deaths in El Salvador, officials said, as parts of Central America faced heavy flooding on Tuesday night.

The Associated Press and local news media attributed reports of the deaths to officials from the country’s civil defense office. A spokesman for that office said by telephone on Tuesday night that he could not immediately confirm them.

Pilar had maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour on Tuesday night, 14 miles shy of hurricane strength, the National Hurricane Center of the United States said in an advisory. Its center was about 125 miles south of San Salvador, the Salvadoran capital, and 210 miles west of Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, on Tuesday night.

Tropical storm watches are in effect for the Pacific coasts of Nicaragua and Honduras. That means tropical storm conditions are possible within the next 12 to 24 hours. The U.S. Hurricane Center said that the storm was drifting north and expected to begin moving west, farther into the Pacific Ocean, on Wednesday.

But Pilar was still forecast to produce 5 to 10 inches of rain, and up to 15 inches in some areas, through Wednesday in portions of El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica, the center said. It also warned of possible flooding in cities, and mudslides at higher elevations.

Hurricanes have become more destructive over time, in no small part because of the influences of a warming planet. Climate change is producing more powerful storms, and they dump more water because of heavier rainfall and a tendency to dawdle and meander; rising seas and slower storms can make for higher and more destructive storm surges.

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