Ingrid makes landfall in Mexico as storms claim 22 lives

by Reuters
Monday, 16 September 2013 16:20 GMT

People carry their belongings as they evacuate from a flooded neighborhood in Acapulco, Mexico, Sept. 15, 2013. REUTERS/Jacobo Garcia

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MEXICO CITY, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Ingrid and the remnants of what was once another tropical storm inundated most of Mexico from both coasts, causing deadly flooding that killed 22 people.

Ingrid weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm as it made landfall early Monday on Mexico's northern Gulf Coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The remnants of Tropical Storm Manuel on Mexico's Pacific coast, meanwhile, continued to dissipate, but the storms combined killed 22 people in the states of Guerrero, Oaxaca, Puebla and Hidalgo, said Luis Felipe Puente, national coordinator for emergency services.

Nearly 6,000 people had sought emergency shelter as a result of the storms, he added.

"As of right now, the storms have affected two-thirds of the entire national territory," the country's interior minister, Miguel Osorio Chong, said at a news conference in Mexico City.

The minister called the impact of the two storms "historic" and added that the Pacific resort Acapulco and its environs had sustained major damage.

As a result of Ingrid's impact on Mexico's Gulf coast, state oil monopoly Pemex was forced to evacuate three offshore platforms at its offshore Arenque field, operated by British oil services firm Petrofac, and close 24 wells in its onshore Ebano-Panuco field, the company said on its Twitter page Sunday night.

The company also said it had activated "emergency procedures" at its Francisco Madero refinery on the Gulf coast of northern Tamaulipas state, but did not provide details.

Company officials did not immediately return calls seeking additional information.

The Francisco Madero refinery has a processing capacity of 180,000 barrels per day, including crude from both the Arenque and Panuco fields.

Ingrid maintained sustaining maximum winds of 60 miles per hour (95 kph) after making landfall near La Pesca in Tamaulipas state, the NHC said, and was expected to weaken as it continued to move inland.

The center said Ingrid was expected to become a tropical depression later on Monday while heavy rains continued as the storm churned 8 miles per hour (13 kph) toward the west-northwest. A tropical storm warming was in effect for La Cruz north to Rio San Fernando.

Manuel's maximum sustained winds stood at 30 mph (45 kph) as it dissipated over west-central Mexico, although heavy rainfall is expected to continue along the country's southwestern coast.

In southern Guerrero state on the country's Pacific coast, 11 people died in landslides and as buildings collapsed because of sustained rainfall over the weekend.

In the states of Puebla and Hidalgo, three people were killed when a wall collapsed and three people were carried away by the current.

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