MEXICO CITY, Sept 14 Hurricane Ingrid
strengthened on Saturday night off Mexico's Gulf coast, dumping
heavy rain across central and eastern Mexico and causing
thousands to seek emergency shelters as river levels climbed.
Tropical Storm Manuel on Mexico's Pacific coast was also
strengthening late on Saturday, drenching coastal towns,
including the beach resort of Acapulco.
Rain from the Category 1 Ingrid, which was 185 miles (300
km) east of the port of Tampico, in Veracruz state, at 0300 GMT,
has caused landslides and local flooding, but state oil monopoly
Pemex said its installations in the Gulf of Mexico
were operating normally.
More than 6,000 people in Veracruz state on Mexico's Gulf
coast were in temporary shelters or staying with relatives,
state Governor Javier Duarte said on Twitter late on Saturday. A
hurricane watch was in effect along Veracruz's northern coast,
where Ingrid is expected to make landfall on Monday.
Ingrid, with sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kph),
could grow even stronger over the next two days as it nears
Mexico's coast, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. A
Category 1 storm is the lowest intensity on the five-step
Pemex was operating under security protocols, but none of
its installations had been affected, a spokesman said on
Ingrid, the second hurricane of the Atlantic season and the
ninth storm of the season, was moving north at about 7 mph (11
kph) late on Saturday, the NHC said.
"A turn toward the northwest is expected by Sunday morning,
followed by a turn toward the west by early Monday," said the
NHC. That would send Ingrid directly toward Mexico, on track to
make landfall to the north of Tampico on Monday.
The storm was expected to dump between 10 inches (25 cm) and
25 inches (63 cm) of rain over a large part of eastern Mexico,
which could cause rivers to swell, provoking flash floods and
mudslides, according to the Miami-based NHC.
Ingrid could also bring a storm surge that would raise
waters by 3 to 5 feet (0.9 to 1.5 metres) above normal tide
levels near where the storm makes landfall, the NHC said.
A hurricane warning was also in effect on the Pacific coast
of Mexico from Manzanillo to Lazaro Cardenas, where Tropical
Storm Manuel is churning about 55 miles (90 km) offshore.
The storm had strengthened late on Saturday to sustained
wind speeds of 70 mph (110 kph), the NHC said. A tropical storm
becomes a hurricane when top sustained winds reach 74 mph (119
Manuel was lashing parts of Oaxaca and Guerrero states in
western Mexico with heavy rain, and the NHC warned the storm
could also cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.