Franklin weakens to tropical storm over Mexico

Franklin has weakened to a tropical storm as it moves farther inland over eastern Mexico.

The storm made landfall early Thursday as a Category 1 hurricane, the first of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Franklin’s maximum sustained winds later decreased to near 70 mph (113 kph) with additional weakening expected. The storm is expected to dissipate late Thursday or early Friday.

Franklin is centered about 75 miles (121 kilometers) south of Tuxpan, Mexico, and is moving a little south of west near 15 mph (24 kph).

Franklin is the sixth named storm in the Atlantic.

Federal forecasters for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Wednesday that this season will be extremely busy and could be the “most active since 2010.”

“We’re now entering the peak of the season when the bulk of the storms usually form,” said Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.

HURRICANE CENTRAL: Everything you need to know for hurricane season

NOAA said 14-19 named storms are now likely to form this year, with 5-9 becoming hurricanes. The numbers include the six storms that already occurred. The 2010 season had 19 named storms.

A tropical storm contains wind speeds of 39 mph or higher and becomes a hurricane when winds reach 74 mph. 

The latest forecast, an update to the original one released in May, makes no prediction about where or exactly when the storms and hurricanes will hit. The wind and air patterns in the Atlantic and Caribbean where many storms develop make an above-average season more likely, Bell said.

Meteorologists at Colorado State University last week also updated their forecast, predicting 16 tropical storms will form, with eight becoming hurricanes.

The late Colorado State University meteorologist William Gray was the first scientist to make seasonal hurricane forecasts back in the 1980s.

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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