MEXICO CITY (AP) — A strengthening Tropical Storm Franklin took aim at Mexico’s central Gulf coast after a relatively mild run across the Yucatan Peninsula, with forecasts saying it would grow into a hurricane before making its second landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Franklin began gaining strength after getting over open water again, with its maximum sustained winds quickly rising to 70 mph (110 kph) by early Wednesday. The storm was expected to gain more power as it moved across the lower reaches of the southern Gulf of Mexico.
Franklin’s center was 165 miles (265 kilometers) east-northeast of Veracruz and it was heading west at 13 mph (20 kph).
A hurricane warning was in effect for Mexico’s coast from Veracruz city north to Cabo Rojo. A tropical storm warning extended east to Puerto Dos Bocas and north to Barra del Tordo in southern Tamaulipas state.
Mexico Civil Protection director Ricardo de la Cruz said Tuesday 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’s rains could cause flash floods and mudslides in the mountains of central Mexico. Four to eight inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain were forecast for mainland areas in the storm’s path, with localized amounts of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters).
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