It was a hurricane accompanied by winds reaching 205 km / h that hit the northern coast of the state of Veracruz (Mexico), near the municipality of Tecolutla, this Saturday, August 21 in the morning.
After three hours of advancing west inland, at a speed of about 22 km / h, Grace however weakened somewhat. Three hours after making landfall, it was crossing the province of Veracruz with winds of 175 km / h, according to the American Hurricane Monitoring Center (NHC).
From the day before, the region had been placed on alert for floods and landslides. “Grace quickly became a major hurricane”, had declared in the night the NHC by passing it in category 3, shortly after having classified it initially in category 2.
A Category 3 hurricane can damage coastal homes and buildings, knock down trees and signs and cause flooding in coastal areas, the Mexican Water Commission said on social media.
In particular, the hurricane is expected to lose strength when it hits mountain ranges. However, the state of Veracruz has many powerful rivers, which comes with a lot of flood risk.
Closed roads and makeshift shelters
In the port of Veracruz, businesses have placed boards and protections on windows and doors, while fishermen have sheltered 300 boats. “We are going to spend many days without fishing, almost a week, we are affected like 35,000 fishermen because we cannot go out”Isabel Pastrana Vázquez, president of the Federation of Fisheries Cooperatives of Veracruz, told AFP.
Residents secured their homes after stocking up on preserves and water. By late Friday afternoon, most of the roads in Veracruz were closed, and the Mexican armed forces are mobilized to help the population.
“I join the call that is launched to ask the inhabitants of the region of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to take refuge in the heights, with relatives or in shelters that are in the process of be installed ”, tweeted President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador. The authorities have announced that they have set up 200 shelters and are ready to activate 2,000 more if necessary.
Second visit to Mexico
This will be the second time Grace has reached Mexico, after spending there Thursday, August 19 without causing death or major property damage. Then classified in category 1, it made landfall Thursday morning near the seaside resort of Tulum, on the Caribbean coast of Mexico. The planes had been grounded and tourists had to spend the night in dedicated shelters.
Grace had been demoted to a tropical storm on dry land. But then it regained strength in the Gulf of Mexico, more than expected. Neighboring El Salvador has announced an early warning due to hurricane-related rains that could hit it.