Hurricane Grace erupted in Mexico in floods, killing at least eight
TECOLUTLA, Mexico, Aug. 21 – Hurricane Grace battered Mexico with heavy rain on Saturday, causing severe flooding and mudslides that killed nearly eight people after becoming one of the most powerful hurricanes in years to hit coast of the country.
Grace was blowing maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour (201 km per hour), a Category 3 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, when it crashed on the coast near the resort of Tecolutla in the state of Veracruz at dawn. .
The state government said eight people were killed, including six from a single family. All but one of the victims died in Xalapa, the state capital, along with a girl killed by a mudslide that hit her home, the government said.
An elderly man was killed by a collapsed roof in the city of Poza Rica further north of the state, Veracruz Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia said at a conference.
“The state of emergency is not over,” he added.
Local television showed severe flooding in Xalapa, with coffins from a local business floating on a waterlogged street. The nearby Actopan River exploded on its banks, closing a local highway, state authorities said.
Ericka Herrera, a homemaker at Tecolutla, burst into tears as she described the devastation.
“It’s not in this strength that everything just breaks down,” he said. “It’s really sad. Things are really bad. “
Grace smashed windows, toppled trees, power cables and telegraph poles, leaving debris scattered around Tecolutla, although there were no human casualties, local authorities said.
Images from Veracruz posted on social media showed damage to buildings and sunken cars.
Garcia said many rivers in Veracruz will flood, and urged the local population to take shelter.
Television footage also showed flooding in Ciudad Madero in the southern reaches of the state of Tamaulipas near the Veracruz border. The Mexican state firm Petroleos Mexicanos ’(Pemex) Francisco Madero that refines is in Ciudad Madero.
Mexico City’s international airport said some flights were canceled due to the storm. The national power Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) reported 565,000 electricity users were affected by the dead.
Grace quickly weakened as it moved into the mountainous interior, and by 4 pm CDT (2100 GMT) it was spreading to central Mexico, with maximum winds of 25 mph (35 kph). The center is about 65 miles (105 km) west-northwest of Mexico City, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Before Grace hit the ground, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged people in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to go to higher ground or shelters.
Many appear to have listened to the call.
NHC forecasts Grace will throw 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) of rain in eastern and central Mexico through Sunday and up to 18 inches (45 cm) in some areas. Heavy rains could cause flooding and flooding areas in the city, it said.
Veracruz and its waters are home to numerous oil installations, including the Pemex port in Coatzacoalcos and the Lazaro Cardenas refaser in Minatitlan to the south. The land hit well north of these cities.
Earlier in the week, Grace hit Mexico’s Caribbean coast, falling trees and resulting in power outages for nearly 700,000 people, but without causing any loss of life, authorities said.
It also killed Jamaica and Haiti, which were still winding from a 7.2-magnitude earthquake, with heavy rain.