Tweet (5:15 p.m. EDT) -- Tropical Storm Richard, the seventeenth named storm of the active Atlantic hurricane season, has now reached hurricane status as it heads toward Belize.
According to the National Hurricane Center's 4 p.m. CDT update, Richard -- which is now a category one hurricane -- is located about 25 miles south-southeast of Belize City. Maximum sustained winds have now reached 90 miles per hour.
The storm passed over the Honduras coast, bringing heavy rain and strong winds to the region. Hurricane watches and storm warnings remain in place for Belize and Mexico.
Cruise Ship Itinerary Changes
A spokesperson for Carnival has confirmed that Carnival Triumph has altered its calls due to Hurricane Richard. The ship -- which is on a seven-day cruise from New Orleans -- had been due to call in Belize (Monday), Roatan (Tuesday) and Cozumel (Wednesday). The ship will now call in Cozumel (Monday), Roatan (Tuesday) and then Belize (Wednesday).
Weather Outlook: Next Affected Ships & Ports
A hurricane warning is in effect for Belize. A hurricane watch is from the east coast of Yucatan, Mexico from Punta Gruesa to Chetumal.
A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the east coast of Yucatan, Mexico from Punta Gruesa to Chetumal.
Projections show the storm is headed in the direction of Belize and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula from late Sunday to early Monday.
The NHC is warning that three to six inches of rain could fall on the Bay Islands, Belize and the southern Yucatan Peninsula, which could cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
At this point there are no further itinerary changes to Western Caribbean cruises.
In a related note, John Deiner, Cruise Critic's managing editor, has been onboard Norwegian Epic this week and reported heavy rains in Cozumel. Check out his picture of a soggy ship and read his take on cruisin' in the rain in our blog.
We'll keep you posted.
--by Kelly Ranson, U.K. Editor
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Richard Now a Hurricane as it Heads Toward Belize; Alters Cruise Itinerary
October 24, 2010