Mexico braces for second hit from Hurricane Grace

0
0


VERACRUZ: Grace strengthened to a Category Two hurricane Friday as it barreled towards Mexico for a second time, triggering warnings of flooding and mudslides in mountains on the eastern mainland.
The hurricane first struck Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula the previous day near the town of Tulum, famed for its Mayan temples, drenching a string of Caribbean beach resorts.
After losing strength, Grace’s winds whipped back up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour on Friday, as it moved over the Gulf of Mexico, according to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC).
It intensified to a Category Two storm — the second lowest on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale — while approaching the eastern state of Veracruz.
A hurricane warning was in effect for coastline stretching from Puerto Veracruz to Cabo Rojo, where the storm was expected to make landfall during the night.
As of 0000 GMT, Grace was centered about 105 miles northeast of the major port of Veracruz, and heading west towards the coast at a speed of 10 mph.
“Strengthening is forecast until Grace makes landfall, with rapid weakening expected as Grace moves inland over the mountains of central Mexico,” the NHC said.
Authorities in the state of Veracruz said they had prepared 200 storm shelters and planned to open another 2,000 if necessary.
Veracruz Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia warned of the risk of flooding and mudslides as the storm dumped heavy rain on the mountainous region.
Members of the Mexican armed forces were ready to deploy if needed to protect residents, said civil protection national coordinator Laura Velazquez.
The authorities closed most of the highways in Veracruz, which is crossed by numerous rivers.
Businesses along the coast packed up in preparation for the storm and residents secured their homes after stocking up on canned food and water.
Workers boarded up windows to protect stores and fishermen brought their boats ashore.
“We will spend many days without fishing — almost a week,” said Isabel Pastrana Vazquez, head of Veracruz’s federation of fisheries cooperatives.
“About 35,000 fishermen will be affected because we can’t go out. We’re going to have a swell and rain,” he said.
The NHC warned that heavy rainfall in Mexico through the weekend “will result in significant flash and urban flooding as well as mudslides.”
A “dangerous storm surge” would be accompanied by “large and destructive waves” near the coast, it said.
As the hurricane approached Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula earlier in the week, more than 6,000 tourists and residents were evacuated to storm shelters across the southeastern state of Quintana Roo.
The storm passed the Riviera Maya coastline without any loss of life, said Quintana Roo Governor Carlos Joaquin. He said electricity had been almost completely restored across the state.
The storm toppled some trees and caused mostly minor damage in Quintana Roo and the neighboring state of Yucatan.
Authorities in Mexico City warned that the storm could also bring heavy rains in the capital over the weekend.





Source link