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TS Nana barrels toward Belize, could become hurricane

PUNTA GORDA, Belize (AP) — Tropical Storm Nana barreled westward Wednesday just off the coast of Honduras on a collision course with the Central American nation of Belize, where thousands of people were stocking up on food, water and construction materials.

Long lines stretched through supermarkets and hardware store shelves were nearly bare as Belizeans bought materials to board up windows and doors ahead of Nana's expected landfall late Wednesday night or early Thursday, possibly as a hurricane.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported that Nana was located about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east-southeast of Belize City with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph). The storm was moving at 15 mph (24 kph) and was expected to strengthen throughout the day.

Belize issued a hurricane warning for its coastline. Nana was 50 miles (80 kilometers) north-northwest of the Honduran island of Roatan, a popular tourist destination.

Heavy rains were expected in Belize, as well as in northern Honduras and throughout Guatemala as the storm crosses the isthmus Thursday.

Local leaders in rural villages in the southernmost district of Toledo were awaiting word from the National Emergency Management Organization to open hurricane shelters.

As evening approached, dark clouds hung on the horizon as uneasy residents awaited the storm's arrival.

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