Hanna weakens after leaving 4 dead, 6 missing in Mexico

By Pedro Pablo Cortés and María Julia Castañeda

Mexico City, Jul 27 (efe-epa).- Tropical Storm Hanna weakened Monday after leaving at least four people dead, six missing and severe flooding in the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila.

After entering Texas, United States, as a hurricane and then Mexico as a tropical storm, Hanna hit the nine municipalities of Tamaulipas that border the US, as well as Monterrey (Nuevo León) and Saltillo (Cohhuila).

The National Civil Protection Coordination (CNPC) reported the death of two people dragged by the current in a vehicle in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila; of three disappeared persons in Monterrey and of three others in Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

The Tamaulipas government later reported the death of two people in Reynosa, one of the most affected cities, with damage in more than 45 neighborhoods and the displacement of almost 200, according to Mayor Maki Ortiz.

“Due to Coahuila and Nuevo León runoff from Hurricane Hanna to the Rio Grande, it can overflow the Rio Grande and cause flooding,” Ortiz said.

The governor of Coahuila, Miguel Riquelme, reported 33 car accidents, eight people rescued, 268 houses flooded, 45 people evacuated and 17 people in shelters, in addition to damage on the Saltillo to Monterrey highway.

The forecast still indicates rains within the next 24 hours, said the state president.

“The streams are already at calm levels, they are in a better situation, and the rain has weakened. The storm has weakened at this time, but it is still raining,” he said at a press conference.

The storm in particular hit Monterrey, the largest city in northern Mexico and the third most populous in the country.

At least 14 people were swept away by flooding, of which 10 were rescued, and the rescue of two others was underway, Miguel Perales, director of Civil Protection of Nuevo León, told EFE.

“More than 1,200 emergency cases were taken care of in two days,” he said.

The official notified the displacement of 709 people with 191 refugees in state shelters.

With gusts close to 95 kilometers per hour, the state experienced an intense day of rains that caused flooding in avenues, the overflow of channels such as the Arroyo Topo Chico and the Santa Catarina River, a channel of more than 150 kilometers that crosses the metropolitan area.

In 24 hours, 553 millimeters of rain fell, about 50 percent of a whole year’s worth in Nuevo León, the observation manager of the National Meteorological System (SMN), Fabián Vázquez, told EFE.

“The most intense [phase] has definitely passed… but it is important to take precautions now in Durango, northern Zacatecas and Sinaloa starting tomorrow (Tuesday),” he added.

After weakening from a tropical storm to tropical depression on Sunday afternoon, Hanna will remain a rainy system for the next few days.

“In Tamaulipas and Nuevo León it will continue raining for two more days, however, it will no longer be with the same intensity, but we must be careful because the river levels are already high,” warned the meteorologist.

Tropical storms Arthur and Bertha have already formed on the Atlantic coast this year before the official start of the cyclone season, which begins on June 1 and runs until Nov. 30.

Christopher, Dolly, Edouard, Fay, Gonzalo and Hanna, the first Atlantic hurricane of the year, followed.

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