Nana on a collision course with Belize, possibly as hurricane, leading to long lines in stores

Tropical storm Nana barrelled westward just off the coast of Honduras on a collision course with the tiny Central American nation of Belize.

There have now been 15 official storms in the Atlantic hurricane season

This satellite image released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows tropical storm Nana approaching Belize on Wednesday. (NOAA/The Associated Press)

Tropical storm Nana barrelled 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 Wednesday that Nana was located about 160 kilometres east-southeast of Belize City with sustained winds of 95 km/h. The storm was moving at 24 km/h and was expected to strengthen.

Belize had issued a hurricane warning for its coastline. Nana was 80 km north-northwest of the Honduran island of Roatan, a popular tourist destination.

Local leaders in rural villages in Belize's 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.