Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center say a tropical depression in the southern Caribbean will bring tropical storm conditions to Colombia on Friday and strike Nicaragua as Hurricane Julia on Sunday.
In its latest report, the hurricane center said Julia was about 45 km west-southwest of Colombia's Guajira Peninsula, moving due west at 24 kilometers per hour (kmph). Its maximum sustained winds are 55 kmph, and it is expected to reach tropical storm strength (62 kmph or higher) within hours.
Forecasters say it will become a hurricane early Sunday as it approaches the Nicaragua coast.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the northern coasts of Colombia and eastern Venezuela. High winds and heavy rain are predicted. The hurricane center says rainfall may cause life-threatening flash floods along with the potential for life-threatening mudslides across portions of Central America on Saturday and Sunday.
Forecasters say a hurricane watch is in effect for Colombia's San Andres, Providencia and Santa Catalina islands. They recommend residents in Nicaragua and Honduras monitor the system's progress as additional watches or warnings are likely to be required for portions of those areas later Friday.