Hurricane Lisa bore down on Belize today with meteorologists saying that it will later move across northern Guatemala and southeastern Mexico.
The eye of Lisa, now at Category 1 strength, is currently located about 5 miles (8 km) south of Belize City.
The storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (137 kph), the Miami-based NHC said in its latest report.
According to reports, palm trees buckled as winds picked up in the Caribbean port city, as residents reported water and power outages plus some flooding.
The National Hurricane Center said moments ago that Lisa was moving westward at a speed of 12 mph (19 kph) and that a powerful storm surge could lift tides some four to seven feet above normal levels.
This afternoon, the Belize government declared a state of emergency including a curfew across two districts covering large swathes of its Caribbean coast through Thursday.
Officials advised people living in vulnerable areas to move to shelters, adding that border crossings, ports, and airports were also ordered closed.