Hurricane Franklin struck Mexico’s central Gulf coast, early today, threatening to bring down mountainous region prone to flash floods and mudslides with torrential rains and heavy winds.
Franklin strengthened into the first hurricane of the Atlantic season on Wednesday and its landfall early Thursday was its second on Mexican territory in three days. As a tropical storm, Franklin made a relatively mild run across the Yucatan Peninsula earlier in the week.
Authorities in Veracruz ordered classes canceled at public schools as a precautionary measure. Schools are frequently used as storm shelters in Mexico.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Franklin, a Category 1 storm, had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph). The storm was expected to weaken as it moved inland.
Franklin’s center was about 70 miles (110 kilometers) north-northwest of the city of Veracruz, and was heading west near 13 mph (20 kph).
A hurricane warning was in effect for the coast from Veracruz city north to Cabo Rojo. A hurricane watch extended north from Cabo Rojo to Rio Panuco.
Mexico Civil Defense Director, Ricardo de la Cruz, said that the storm’s impact on Yucatan was not as bad as initially feared, with some trees down and power out in some areas. But, he warned, “the second impact could even be stronger than the first.”
Forecasters said Franklin could drop four to eight inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain, with localized amounts of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters).