MEXICO CITY, June 19 Tropical Storm Barry, the
second of the Atlantic hurricane season, strengthened as it
churned toward Mexico on Wednesday, threatening to bring heavy
rains to oil and power installations near the country's Gulf
The Minatitlan oil refinery of state oil monopoly Pemex
and the Laguna Verde nuclear power plant, both in
Veracruz state, are being monitored closely, said Noemi Zoila,
head of the local government's emergency services.
Mexico's three major Gulf coast oil export terminals -
Coatzacoalcos, Cayo Arcas and Dos Bocas - closed on Wednesday
because of heavy rain and reduced visibility.
Barry was about 40 miles (60 km) east-northeast of the port
of Veracruz, moving at 6 miles per hour (9 kph) as it approached
land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The storm's maximum sustained winds were 45 mph (75 kph),
the center added, and a tropical storm warning was in effect
along a costal stretch from Tuxpan to Punta El Lagarto.
The biggest impact was expected to be felt in southern and
central parts of Veracruz state late on Wednesday and early on
Thursday, said local emergency services spokesman Manuel
Escalera added that the storm could cross Pemex's
installations as well as hydroelectric dams. He said the state
was prepared to offer temporary shelter to up to 500,000 people,
and that all public schools would be closed on Thursday as a
The first tropical storm of the 2013 Atlantic Hurricane
season, Andrea, formed in the Gulf of Mexico on June 5 and moved
toward Florida, Georgia and North Carolina.