SAN SALVADOR – Officials said Monday that heavy rain from Tropical Storm Pilar has already caused two deaths in El Salvador as it meanders off the Pacific coast.
A 24-year-old man and a 57-year-old woman were swept away by swollen streams Sunday in the province of La Union, according to Fermín Pérez, the assistant director of El Salvador's civil defense office. Pérez said their bodies were found Monday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Pilar was located about 210 miles (335 kilometers) southwest of San Salvador with winds of 50 mph (85 kph) and was moving east-northeast at 5 mph (7 kph).
The storm was expected to maintain that general track for the next day or two, stall for a day or more just off the coast and then abruptly turn around and head back out to sea without making landfall, the center said.
The storm was forecast to dump five to 10 inches (12-24 centimeters) of rain from El Salvador to Costa Rica with as much as 15 inches (38 centimeters) in some areas.
El Salvador’s government put the country on alert Sunday and Congress declared a national emergency, which allows civil defense authorities to force evacuations for people who are at risk.
Classes were suspended across the country until Wednesday and some 100 shelters were prepared.
Farther up the Pacific coast Mexican authorities continued recovery efforts after Category 5 Hurricane Otis slammed into Acapulco last week killing at least 45 and leaving dozens missing.
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