PUNTA GORDA, Belize—Hurricane Nana made landfall in Belize, pelting a relatively sparsely populated stretch of the country’s coast with heavy rain and wind before weakening to a tropical storm while pushing across Guatemala on Thursday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported that Nana hit land between the coastal towns of Dangriga and Placencia shortly after midnight at an area around 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Belize City with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph), making it barely a hurricane. The storm was moving west-southwest at 15 mph (24 kph).
Later in the morning, Nana weakened to a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds near 60 mph (95 kph). It was centered about 150 miles (240 kilometers) north-northeast of Guatemala City and neared the border with Mexico.
Belize authorities did not immediately report injuries when Nana when landfall shortly after midnight Thursday. More than 4,000 people, primarily in the south of the country moved to government shelters.
Thousands of people stocked up on food, water and construction materials Wednesday ahead of the landfall. Long lines stretched through supermarkets and hardware store shelves were nearly bare as residents of Belize bought materials to board up windows and doors.
Heavy rains were expected in Belize, as well as in northern Honduras. Forecasters said Nana would weaken rapidly as it moved inland.
This record-breaking hurricane season continues to churn out storms. Nana and Tropical Storm Omar are the earliest 14th and 15th named storms in the Atlantic basin, respectively, each breaking a record from the 2005 season.
The previous record for the earliest “N” storm was Nate on Sept. 6, 2005. The old record for the earliest named “O” storm was Ophelia, named a day later.
Omar on Wednesday was out over open water in the Atlantic and moving away from the United States. It is expected to weaken throughout the day on Thursday.
Meantime across the Atlantic, the hurricane center is watching two areas of possible formation this week.
If either becomes tropical and gains enough strength to earn a name, it would be the earliest 16th named storm. The previous record is held by Philippe, which formed on Sept. 17, 2005.
On average, the Atlantic only sees 11 named storms throughout a hurricane season. The 2020 peak is still more than a week away.
CNN Wire contributed to this report.