Season's 1st tropical storm drenches part of Central America

SAN SALVADOR, EL SALVADOR: The first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific season drenched parts of Central America Sunday and officials in El Salvador said at least seven people had died in flooding.

President Nayib Bukele decreed a 15-day state of emergency to deal with the rains that began pounding the country on Friday ahead of Tropical Storm Amanda's landfall on Sunday.

"We are facing a critical situation," said Interior Minister Mario Durán. "The situation in all of the country and especially in the metropolitan area of San Salvador is grave."

Amanda had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph) when it hit Sunday morning, but soon dissipated as it moved overland. By Friday evening it was about 100 miles (165 kilometres) northeast of Guatemala City, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Forecasters said that even though it had dissipated heavy rains could continue to fall over parts of El Salvador, Guatemala, western Honduras and southeastern Mexico over the next few days.

El Salvador's Civil Defense agency said at least seven people had died in the flooding, including an 8-year-old child. San Salvador Mayor Ernesto Muyshondt said 50 houses had been destroyed in the capital, and officials said hundreds of people around the country had been evacuated as rivers overflowed.

Amanda could dump 10 to 15 inches (25 to 38 centimetres) of rain over El Salvador, southern Guatemala, western Honduras and southeastern Mexico, with lesser accumulations over parts of Nicaragua and Belize.