Tropical Storm Barry weakens, dumps rain on Mexico

Tropical Storm Barry weakens, dumps rain on Mexico

Tropical Storm Barry weakens, dumps rain on Mexico

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by Associated Press

khou.com

Posted on June 20, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Jun 20 at 4:10 PM

MIAMI (AP) -- What was once Tropical Storm Barry has weakened to a depression after making landfall in Mexico, but deadly flash floods and mudslides remain a threat.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says Barry made landfall Thursday morning. It was moving west over land and lost its tropical storm designation throughout the day.

Still, forecasters say the system is dumping torrential rains on parts of southern Mexico.

It still had maximum sustained winds near 35 mph (55 kph) in the evening. Tropical Storm force gusts are possible along the coast of Veracruz.

The government of Mexico has discontinued the storm warnings. However, the major concern was the heavy rain that could create floods and mudslides, especially in mountain areas.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Tropical Storm Barry hit Mexico's Gulf Coast on Thursday, lashing the state of Veracruz with heavy rains but causing only minor flooding and no heavy damage in its first hours over land.

The second tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season packed sustained 40-mph (64-kph) winds. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm hit Veracruz just before 11 a.m. EDT. Civil defense workers readied emergency shelters and forecasters warned that heavy rains could trigger potentially deadly flash floods or mudslides.

Between 3 to 5 inches of rain were possible with up to 10 inches in some areas, the hurricane center said. Classes were canceled around the state but flights were operating normally out of the main airport in the city of Veracruz.

At the center, Hurricane Specialist Lixion Avila warned the rains could trigger life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially over mountains.

"There is still going to be a lot rain in the hours ahead," he told AP by telephone.

Early Thursday, blustery winds were already being reported around the Gulf Coast areas closest to the storm's center. Forecasters said tropical storm conditions were already being felt in some areas and that strong winds would continue through Thursday morning.

A tropical storm warning was in effect from Punta El Lagarto to Tuxpan, in Veracruz state.

Veracruz state Civil Protection Secretary Noemi Guzman said 2,000 shelters had been readied in the state with mattresses, blankets, water and canned food. She said the shelters at schools and recreation centers could house up to 306,000 people.

The port of Veracruz was closed to small vessels because of the strong winds, Guzman added.

The storm had formed as a depression off the coast of Belize on Monday and began moving northward, dumping heavy rains on parts of that country and northern Guatemala before entering the Gulf of Mexico off Mexico's Bay of Campeche and strengthening somewhat over warm Gulf waters.

After moving inland Thursday, the storm was expected to weaken throughout the day and then begin breaking apart Friday as it crosses southern Mexico, the hurricane center said.

 

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