Friday 26 May 2017

Hurricane Earl Mexico death toll rises to 39 as new storm threatens

A house destroyed by a mudslide stands in Xaltepec, on the mountainous north of Puebla state, Mexico (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)
A house destroyed by a mudslide stands in Xaltepec, on the mountainous north of Puebla state, Mexico (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)
Mexican soldiers shovel mud from a house destroyed by a mudslide in Xaltepec, on the mountainous north of Puebla state, Mexico (AP Photo/Pablo Spencer)

Christopher Sherman

The death toll from the remnants of Hurricane Earl grew to 39 in Mexico as a new tropical storm formed off the country's Pacific Coast.

At least 28 people died in multiple mudslides in the mountainous north of Puebla state, national civil protection co-ordinator Luis Felipe Puente told ForoTV.

He said 25 of the dead were in various parts of the township of Huauchinango and three were in Tlaola.

Rains also set off mudslides in the Gulf coast state of Veracruz that killed 11 people, officials reported.

Governor Javier Duarte said the landslides were in the towns of Coscomatepec, Tequila and Huayacocotla.

Heavy rain continued in the area, leading officials to close a section of the main highway connecting Mexico City to the region.

Crews spent the day clearing a number of landslides from the road, but authorities said mud was continuing to slide with the new rain.

Transport authorities said the area had received a month's worth of rain in 24 hours.

Earlier, Gabriel Alvarado, mayor of Huauchinango, said that intense rains caused damage affecting at least 200 people.

"It is a tragedy what has happened to our people in Huauchinango," he said.

Tropical Storm Javier formed off Mexico's Pacific Coast on Sunday night, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Javier had sustained winds of about 50mph and was centred about 250 miles south-west of Cabo San Lucas.

The storm was staying offshore from Mexico's south-western coast, and forecasters said Javier would approach the resort-dotted southern portion of the Baja California Peninsula by early Tuesday.

Heavy rains of between four and eight inches were expected, along with high winds. A tropical storm warning was in effect for the southern portion of the Baja California.

Earl was briefly a Category 1 hurricane before hitting the Central American nation of Belize and then Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, dumping rain and triggering landslides.

It regained strength after passing over the Gulf of Mexico before making a second landfall on Veracruz's coast late on Friday.

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