A weakened tropical storm Franklin chugged across Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula Tuesday, dumping heavy rain after coming ashore on the Caribbean coast.
The National Hurricane Center said the storm’s centre was 120 kilometres northwest of Chetumal and moving west-northwest at 22 km/h Tuesday morning after making landfall overnight.
Franklin’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to 75 km/h, but it was expected to strengthen again Wednesday as it crossed the bay of Campeche.
Between 7.5 and 15 centimetres of rain were forecast across the Yucatan, with localized amounts of up to 35 centimetres. Franklin was expected to make landfall again Thursday, threatening flash floods and mudslides in mountainous central Mexico.
The Quintana Roo state government had moved people from the most vulnerable coastal communities, Adrian Martinez, co-ordinator for the state’s Civil Protection agency, told Milenio television.
Shelters were prepared across the area, with one specifically designated for the residents of Mahahual, a popular beach destination. Officials had urged all businesses and gas stations to close early to help clear the streets. The state government closed the Chetumal airport near the border with Belize overnight.
A tropical storm warning was posted for the Mexican coast from Chetumal to Sabancuy. Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 220 kilometres from the centre.