VERACRUZ, Mexico -- Mexican authorities rushed to evacuate riverside communities in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz Friday as Tropical Storm Ingrid lashed the coast with heavy rains, threatening more damage in a state where landslides and flooding have killed dozens of people in recent weeks.
The state government said neighborhoods located near riverbanks in eight Veracruz townships would be evacuated amid warnings the Tecolutla river could overflow its banks. The evacuees were to be taken to shelters set up in schools and other government buildings.
Ingrid could become a hurricane shortly before hitting land near the Gulf coast port city of Tampico sometime late Sunday or early Monday, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Mexico declared a hurricane watch for the Gulf coast from La Pesca, just south of the U.S. border, to a point near Tuxpan, south of Tampico.
Ingrid’s maximum sustained winds late Friday were near 60 mph, according to the Hurricane Center. It was nearly stationary and centered about 65 miles east of the port city of Veracruz, but forecasters said it was likely to advance north and curve into the coast near Tampico during Mexico’s long Independence Day weekend.
At least three major rivers in the eastern state of Veracruz were flooding or close to overflowing their banks and hundreds of people were evacuating low-lying areas, officials said. A bridge collapsed near the northern city of Misantla, cutting off the area from the state capital. Thirteen people died when a landslide buried their homes in heavy rains spawned by Tropical Depression Fernand on Monday.
State officials imposed an orange alert, the highest possible, in parts of southern Veracruz. Ingrid was expected to dump 10 to 15 inches of rain over a large part of eastern Mexico with as much as 25 inches in some places.
On the other side of the country, Tropical Storm Manuel prompted Mexico’s government to issue warnings for the Pacific coast from Acapulco to Punta San Telmo.
Forecasters at the hurricane center in Miami said Manuel was nearly stationary Friday night and its center was located about 190 miles south of Lazaro Cardenas. It had sustained winds of 45 mph and was moving west slowly. It was expected to be near the coast of southwestern Mexico by late Saturday or early Sunday, over a relatively sparsely populated stretch of coast west of Lazaro Cardenas port.
Manuel is expected to produce 10 to 15 inches of rain over parts of the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. Tropical storm conditions should begin in the warning area by midday Saturday. Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides are likely.
Meanwhile, far out over the Atlantic, Humberto weakened to a tropical storm and did not threaten land.
Gabrielle weakened to a tropical depression and remained well off the U.S. East Coast on a track toward Canada’s Atlantic seaboard.
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