UPDATE: At least two people have been reported killed as Hurricane Karl caused flooding and mudslides in Mexico. Karl, which caused widespread property damage as a hurricane in the port city of Veracruz, weakened to a tropical depression Friday night. It was dissipating over the mountains early Saturday, but still was expected to produce up to another 3 inches of rain in some areas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
Mexico’s Navy sent helicopters to rescue about 40 families trapped on a hill surrounded by floodwaters in the town of San Pancho, north of Veracruz city, said state Civil Protection Secretary Silvia Dominguez. South of the city, in Cotaxtla, houses were flooded up to their roofs and officials were hunting for seven members of two families feared washed away by a swollen river.
Veracruz state Gov. Fidel Herrera said some 16,000 people were forced to evacuate their homes as the storm roared through, downing trees, power lines and billboards and erasing beachfront huts.
Hurricane Karl landed in Mexico this afternoon north of Veracruz delivering torrential rains and fierce winds. When it arrived in the country it was a Category 3 with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph and has now been classified as Category 2. In its wake Karl has displaced 3,000 families and is expected to bring rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches. The Mexican government is also monitoring the oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico to see how they weather the high seas and winds.
ORIGINAL STORY: The Gulf of Mexico is preparing for the arrival of Hurricane Karl. Karl is currently a category 3 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph 70 miles east-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico and 165 miles east-southeast of Tuxpan. The National Hurricane Center in Miami expects Karl to move inward over Mexico Friday night into Saturday.
Forecasters said a dangerous storm surge, accompanied by large, destructive waves, will raise water levels by as much as 12-15 feet above normal tide levels along the coast where Karl was expected to make landfall.