Tropical storm Franklin could be a hurricane before second landfall in Mexico

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 strengthen 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 85 km/h by late Tuesday. The storm was expected to gain more power as it moved across the lower reaches of the southern Gulf of Mexico and likely would be a hurricane by Wednesday evening, the centre said.

Franklin’s centre was 525 kilometres east-northeast of Veracruz late Tuesday and it was heading west-northwest at 17 km/h.

A hurricane watch was in effect along the Mexican coast from Veracruz to Tuxpan. A tropical storm warning was posted from Veracruz east to Celestun and from Tuxpan north to Rio Panuco. Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 295 kilometres from the centre.

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. Ten to 20 centimetres of rain were forecast for mainland areas in the storm’s path, with localized amounts of up to 35 centimetres.

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CBC | World News