GUATEMALA CITY – Matthew weakened to a tropical depression Saturday along the coast of Belize, dousing the southern part of the Central American nation and neighboring Guatemala with rain that caused flooding in coastal areas.

Guatemalan authorities urged people to stay off the roads as floods hit several towns in eastern and northern Guatemala.

Civil Defense operations commander Sergio Cabanas said flooding was reported in Izabal and Peten provinces, and there were concerns about people staying in their homes.

“The problem is that people have refused to be taken to shelters, because they want to keep watch on their possessions” out of fear of looting if they evacuated, Cabanas said.

In recent months, Guatemala has been hit by heavy rains that have resulted in about 274 deaths and about $1.1 billion in damage to highways, infrastructure, homes and crops, according to government estimates.

In neighboring Belize, evacuations were under way for people in three towns near the border with Guatemala after flood waters rose, officials said.

Meanwhile, far out over the Atlantic, Hurricane Lisa weakened to a tropical storm and was drifting slowly north with maximum sustained winds near 50 mph.