Hurricane Grace lashed Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula with heavy wind and rain early on Thursday as it barreled into the coast and moved inland near the popular beach resort of Tulum, threatening to spark flooding in the country’s southeast.
Grace, a Category 1 Hurricane, is expected to weaken as it churns across the peninsula before strengthening again in the Gulf of Mexico and hitting the coast of Veracruz state late on Friday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.
The NHC said Grace would dump 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) of rain over the Yucatan peninsula through Friday, and up to 12 inches in some areas. Grace’s heavy rainfall will likely result in areas of flash and urban flooding, it added.
Mexican officials said steps had been taken to prepare for the hurricane’s arrival, with dozens of military and rescue workers as well as staff from the national power utility, the Comision Federal Electricidad, gearing up to help.
“We’re ready,” Laura Velazquez, head of Mexico’s civil protection authority, told a regular news conference standing alongside President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
Velazquez said the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Yucatan and Tabasco were likely to receive heavy rainfall.
Grace, which unleashed downpours and flooding over Haiti and Jamaica earlier this week, was early on Thursday about 45 miles south-southeast of the town of Valladolid, blowing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (121 km/h) the NHC said. The storm was moving west at 17 mph (28 km/h).
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