Hurricane Grace Hits Mexico With Major Flooding, Killing Eight

Hurricane Grace pummeled Mexico with torrential rain on Saturday, causing severe flooding and mudslides that killed at least eight people, authorities said. The storm was one of the most powerful to hit the country’s Gulf coast in years. Grace was whipping up maximum sustained winds of 201 kph (125 mph), a Category 3 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, when it slammed ashore near the resort of Tecolutla in Veracruz state in the early morning.The state government said eight people were killed, including six from a single family. All but one of the victims died in the state capital, Xalapa, including a young girl killed by a mudslide that hit her home, the government said.Meanwhile, an adult was killed by a collapsed roof in the city of Poza Rica farther north in the state, Veracruz Governor Cuitlahuac Garcia told a news conference.”The state of emergency has not ended,” he added.Floating coffinsLocal television showed severe flooding in Xalapa, with coffins from a local business floating down a waterlogged street. The nearby River Actopan burst its banks, shutting down a local highway, state authorities said.Grace also caused power outages and brought down trees. Images posted on social media showed damage to buildings and cars submerged by the deluge of rain the storm brought.Garcia said several rivers in Veracruz would flood and urged the local residents to take cover.A tree, uprooted when Hurricane Grace slammed into the coast with torrential rains, fell on a house, in Tecolutla, Mexico, Aug. 21, 2021.Television footage also showed flooding in Ciudad Madero in the southern reaches of the state of Tamaulipas near the border of Veracruz. Mexican state oil firm Pemex’s Francisco Madero refinery is in Ciudad Madero.Mexico City’s international airport said some flights were canceled because of the hurricane. National power utility Comision Federal de Electricidad reported 565,000 electricity users were affected by outages. Grace weakened quickly as it moved across Mexico’s mountainous interior, and by 1 p.m. CDT (1800 GMT) it was a tropical storm, with top winds of 75 kph (45 mph).Up to 18 inches of rainThrough Sunday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center forecast Grace would dump 15 to 30 cm (6 to 12 inches) of rain over swaths of eastern and central Mexico, and up to 45 cm (18 inches) in some areas. The heavy rainfall will likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it said.Veracruz and its waters are home to several oil installations, including Pemex’s port in Coatzacoalcos and its Lazaro Cardenas refinery in Minatitlan in the south. Grace hit land well to the north of these cities. Earlier in the week, Grace pounded Mexico’s Caribbean coast, downing trees and causing power outages for nearly 700,000 people, but without causing loss of life, authorities said. It also doused Jamaica and Haiti, still reeling from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake, with torrential rain.

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