Storm claims three lives in Mexico


Mexico City : Three people were killed in Mexico in a mudslide caused by heavy rain accompanying tropical depression Lorenzo, which made landfall along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico as a hurricane but was quickly downgraded.

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The fatalities were a woman and two children in Chiconcuautla, a town in the Sierra Norte mountains of Puebla state, reported Spanish news agency EFE.

Puebla borders Veracruz state, where Lorenzo came ashore Friday as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 130 kph that blew the roofs off houses and toppled trees and power lines.

But the principal threat was from rain-driven mudslides and flooding. The storm dumped 326 mm of rain on El Raudal, Veracruz, and 300 mm in Xicotepec, Puebla.

Rain-swollen rivers forced some 25,000 people to flee their homes for shelters and authorities said they expected the number of evacuees to increase.

In the Gulf coast town of Poza Rica, the Cazones River turned into a torrent of water, mud and trees that flooded more than 1,000 homes whose surprised residents had to be evacuated by soldiers and police.

Veracruz authorities reported flooding in a dozen communities along the banks of the Cazones and said that the waters of the Panuco, Tamesi and Papaloapan rivers were also rising.

Officials said they deployed 1,000 buses to evacuate people living along rivers and in low-lying areas.

The US National Hurricane Centre said that as of 21.00 GMT Friday, Tropical Depression Lorenzo was located 170 km west of Tuxpan, Mexico, and moving to the west-northwest at 15 kph.

The system had maximum sustained winds of 35 kph, according to the Miami-based NHC, which said Lorenzo was expected to dissipate Friday night.

In addition to Veracruz and Puebla, Mexican forecasters said that rain due to Lorenzo would have the greatest impact in the states of Queretaro and San Luis Potosi and in parts of Tamaulipas and Oaxaca.