"May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Nicaragua downgraded a hurricane warning as Tropical Storm Alma hit the western coast today with heavy rains and high winds that will probably ease as the tempest moves inland.
"Alma, the first named storm of the northeast Pacific Ocean hurricane season, made landfall around noon local time near the city of Leon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a statement. Wind speeds dropped to 50 miles per hour this afternoon from 65 miles per hour earlier. The storm is forecast to bring as much as 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain.
"'Rains may produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,' said the Miami-based hurricane center. The governments of Nicaragua and Honduras issued tropical storm warnings.
"Alma may reach El Salvador and Honduras tomorrow.
"The storm threatens Nicaragua's agricultural industry, which is trying to produce more beans, corn, wheat and rice to combat rising food costs. The western coast also holds Nicaragua's main shipping port, near the city of Corinto.
"Police were dispatched to 255 areas throughout Nicaragua to protect against flash floods, police spokesman Francisco Diaz told reporters in the capital, Managua. The nation is still recovering from Hurricane Felix, a Category 5 storm that lashed the Central American country last September."