Barry weakens to depression, moving inland into Mexico

by Reuters
Thursday, 20 June 2013 21:50 GMT

MEXICO CITY, June 20 (Reuters) - The Mexican state of Veracruz was hit by heavy rains on Thursday after Tropical Storm Barry moved away from Mexico's major oil installations and weakened to a Tropical Depression.

Only one of Mexico's three major oil-exporting ports - Dos Bocas - remained closed, but state oil monopoly Pemex said it was unaffected by the storm.

Almost all of Mexico's crude oil exports, which totaled 1.275 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, are shipped to refineries on the Gulf Coast of the United States from the ports of Coatzacoalcos, Dos Bocas and Cayo Arcas.

The rains falling in the town of Actopan in Veracruz were more severe than those during Hurricane Karl, a Category 3 storm that battered the state in 2010, said town spokesman Rafael Alberto Moreno.

There is a risk that the Actopan River, one of the biggest in the state, might overflow and townspeople were being evacuated from their homes, he said.

Barry is expected to lose strength during the course of Thursday, and the tropical storm warning was discontinued, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory.

Veracruz is home to the Minatitlan refinery, Pemex's fifth-largest and the most recently modernized. It has the capacity to produce 245,000 bpd.

Pemex also has three petrochemical complexes and three gas processing complexes in the state.

Asked about the condition of Pemex's installations in the Gulf of Mexico, a company official texted: "Everything is OK."

The NHC said it expected three to five inches (7.6 to 12.7 cm) of rainfall, with maximum accumulations of 10 inches over parts of southern Mexico. A few more tropical storm-force gusts may continue before subsiding later Thursday, the center said.

Maximum sustained winds had decreased to 35 miles per hour (56 km/h).

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