13 dead in Mexico mudslides—authorities
VERACRUZ—Mudslides crashed through several homes in eastern Mexico on Monday, killing at least 13 people after a tropical storm pelted the state of Veracruz with heavy rains, officials said.
The storm named Fernand weakened to a tropical depression after making landfall just before midnight, unleashing a deluge that flooded streets, homes and businesses in some towns and caused rivers to overflow.
Governor Javier Duarte, who had ordered the closure of schools before the storm came ashore, urged residents to heed any calls for evacuations and said the authorities remained on high alert.
Nine people died in the town of Yecuatla, three more in Tuxpan and one in Atzalan, he said.
“They were all caused by mudslides on their homes,” Duarte told a news conference.
The storm triggered 16 mudslides, while storm-related damage was reported in 22 municipalities, affecting more than 450 homes, said state civil protection director Noemi Guzman Lagunes.
More than 400 people were housed in 10 temporary shelters, she said.
Authorities urged people who live near rivers to move to shelters as a precaution. Duarte asked the federal government to declare an emergency in 92 municipalities, which would make them eligible for disaster recovery funds.
Duarte said Fernand was “atypical” because of how quickly it morphed into a tropical storm over the Gulf of Mexico late Sunday before making landfall.
The storm carried maximum sustained winds of 85 kilometers per hour (50 miles per hour) when it made landfall, according to the US National Hurricane Center.
In a final advisory at 2100 GMT, the Miami-based center said Fernand had dissipated 125 kilometers southwest of Tuxpan, Veracruz.
Although the center of Fernand was no longer in the state, Duarte said the “emergency continues” because “our experience shows us that this type of weather phenomenon makes an impact with the amount of rain that it brings.”
The US hurricane center said Fernand and its remnants were expected to dump four to eight inches (10-20 centimeters) over Veracruz and five other states, with possible isolated amounts of 15 inches.
Fernand is the fifth named storm this year in the Atlantic, where the hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast an unusually violent season of 13 to 19 named storms, including six to nine hurricanes.
Mexico is also vulnerable to Pacific hurricanes. In July, Hurricane Erick left two people dead and 500 without homes.—Ignacio Carvajal