Hurricane, tropical storm combined kills 21 in Mexico
16 September 2013, 11:29
Acapulco - Tropical Storm Manuel blasted Mexico's Pacific coast on Sunday, while Hurricane Ingrid crept toward eastern states, triggering rain, landslides and floods that killed at least 21 people.
Thousands of people were evacuated as the two storms flanked Mexico on the Pacific and Gulf coasts, causing rivers to overflow, flooding streets and damaging bridges.
The country was facing an "atypical and unusual" situation as it has never before been hit by a hurricane 24 hours after a tropical storm made landfall, National Weather Service co-ordinator Juan Manuel Caballero told a news conference.
Hurricane Ingrid was expected to make landfall early on Monday on the east coast. State-run energy firm Pemex evacuated three oil platforms off the Gulf coast of the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas and shut down 24 wells.
On the Pacific side, Manuel weakened into a tropical depression late on Sunday, hours after making landfall near the Colima state town of Manzanillo, the US National Hurricane Centre said in a 0300 GMT advisory.
But the weather system was still producing heavy rainfall likely to trigger more floods and mudslides, the Miami-based centre said.
At least 11 of the 21 deaths were in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where water rose as high as 1m in some neighbourhoods, dragging cars away.
The port and the international airport were closed and the highway linking Mexico City to Acapulco shut down due to landslides and flooding in the south-western state of Guerrero.
Some 2 000 people were evacuated from their homes in the state, while more than 20 000 households lost power.
"For the moment, there are officially 21 people dead," national civil protection chief Luis Felipe Puente told a news conference.
In Acapulco, five people died when a wall collapsed and six members of the same family were killed when a landslide crushed their home, said Puente and local civil protection and Red Cross officials.
A woman was killed by a landslide elsewhere in Guerrero, while a man and a child died in a landslide in the state capital Chilpancingo, Puente said.
Guerrero state civil protection official Constantino Gonzales Vargas told AFP that six people died in a road accident due to slippery conditions, but Puente did not report these fatalities.
In the central state of Hidalgo, a nurse and her driver drowned when their car was swept away by an overflowing river, civil protection officials there said. Another woman died in a landslide.
Three people, including a 16-year-old boy, were killed in a landslide in Tlatlauquitepec, a mountain town in central state of Puebla.
Puente reported another storm-related death in the southern state of Oaxaca.
As Hurricane Ingrid lumbered toward the east coast, officials cancelled Independence Day celebrations in several towns of the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas.
The category one hurricane had already forced the evacuation of 6 000 people in the east coast state of Veracruz after two rivers overflowed their banks.
The US National Hurricane Centre said that Ingrid was about 177km northeast of Tampico, Tamaulipas.
Packing maximum sustained winds of 120km/h, Ingrid could slightly strengthen before making landfall on Monday, it said.
The storm's centre was about 200km east of Tampico and was moving at 4.8km/h.
The forecasters also said Ingrid was expected to trigger a storm surge of as much as 1.2m, with "large and destructive waves."