XALAPA, Mexico (AP) — Mexico was threatened by storms on opposite coasts as it headed into the country’s three-day Independence Day weekend, on the Gulf by Hurricane Ingrid and on the Pacific by Manuel, which also could strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall on Sunday.
Ingrid strengthened Saturday into Mexico’s second hurricane of the Atlantic storm season, prompting the evacuation of several thousand people in the Gulf coast of Veracruz.
But Tropical Storm Manuel was expected to make landfall a full day before Ingrid, dumping heavy rains that could cause flash floods and mudslides in Pacific coast communities in the southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero.
Manuel on Saturday gathered strength as it moved with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) along Mexico’s Pacific coast. It was expected to bear down on the country’s southwestern coast by Sunday morning, possibly as a hurricane.
Late Saturday, it was about 55 miles (90 kilometers) off the city of Lazaro Cardenas and 180 miles (290 kilometers) southeast of Manzanillo as it moved northward at 6 mph (9 kph). The Mexican government late Saturday issued a hurricane warning for the country’s Pacific coast from Lazaro Cardenas to Manzanillo.
Manuel was expected to produce 10 to 15 inches of rain over parts of Oaxaca and Guerrero states, with isolated amounts of up to 25 inches possible in some areas. Life-threatening flash floods and mudslides were considered likely, especially in mountainous areas.
Hurricane Ingrid, meanwhile, was packing maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph). Late Saturday, it was centered about 185 miles (300 km) east of Tampico, Mexico and moving north at 7 mph (11 km).
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said that if Ingrid stays on the forecast track, it’s likely to reach the coast of Mexico’s Tamaulipas state on Monday. A hurricane warning was in effect from Cabo Rojo to La Pesca.
The Tamaulipas state government said in a statement Saturday that Independence Day festivities have been cancelled in the cities of Tampico, Madero and Altamira because of the approaching hurricane. The Sept. 15 and 16 celebrations commemorate Mexico’s battle of independence from Spain.
Officials to the south in the Gulf state of Veracruz began evacuating coastal residents Friday night, and local civil protection authorities said that more than 5,300 people had been moved to safer ground. Of those, about 3,500 people were being housed in official shelters with the rest staying with family and friends. There were no immediate reports of injuries blamed on the storm.
State officials earlier imposed an orange alert, the highest possible, in parts of southern Veracruz.
More than 1,000 homes in Veracruz state have been affected by Ingrid to varying degrees, and 20 highways and 12 bridges have suffered damages, according to the state’s civil protection authority.
A bridge collapsed near the northern Veracruz city of Misantla Friday, 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.