MEXICO CITY, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- Tropical storm Earl was upgraded to a hurricane on its way to Mexico's Caribbean coast Wednesday afternoon, forecaster said.
The maximum sustained winds of Earl reached 75 mph (120 km/h), indicating that it is now a hurricane, said the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida.
"Earl has become a larger system, and its hazards, primarily rainfall, will affect a large portion of Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula and eastern Mexico," the agency added.
Earlier it hit north Honduras, sinking at least one fishing boat.
A tropical storm advisory was still in effect for the northern Honduran coast, where 80 lobster fishermen were rescued by Nicaragua's navy after strong winds and high waves caused their fishing boats to capsize around midnight Tuesday, Honduran daily La Prensa reported.
The navy rescued 80 of the original 82 crew members on Wednesday morning, the daily said.
At least four other Honduran boats contacted the navy to request permission to seek safe havens in Nicaragua's Cayos Miskitos.
In Honduras, heavy rains also led to the suspension of local flights from the capital Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula to the Port of Lempira, La Ceiba, Roatan and Tela, La Prensa said.
The National Hurricane Center said Earl was expected to make landfall in Belize Wednesday night or early Thursday.