UPDATE 1-Tropical Storm Fernand forms in Gulf of Mexico, oil ports open

Sun Aug 25, 2013 9:56pm EDT

MEXICO CITY Aug 25 (Reuters) - A tropical depression strengthened into tropical storm Fernand on Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, though the country's main oil exporting ports remained open according to the latest official report.

The oil ports of Cayo Arcas, Coatzacoalcos and Dos Bocas were operating normally, officials said on Sunday afternoon. However, Mexican authorities closed the eastern port of Veracruz.

The tropical storm was about 25 miles (40 km) east of Veracruz and traveling westward at 9 miles per hour (15 kph) with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and higher gusts, according to the hurricane center.

It said the storm could strengthen before it makes landfall early on Monday, and could produce rainfall of up to 12 inches (30 cm) and life-threatening flash floods and mudslides in parts of eastern Mexico.

The storm will begin to weaken as the center moves inland, the hurricane center added.

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