Franklin seen hitting Mexico as season's first Atlantic hurricane

A couple observes strong waves due to Franklin's influence in Cancun, Mexico.
A couple observes strong waves due to Franklin's influence in Cancun, Mexico.PHOTO: EPA

MEXICO CITY (REUTERS) - Tropical storm Franklin is expected to develop into a hurricane later on Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Centre said, and is set to crash into eastern Mexico's key oil-producing Gulf state of Veracruz as the Atlantic's first hurricane of 2017.

On Wednesday morning, the storm was located about 195 miles (315 km) east-northeast of the city of Veracruz, Mexico and was carrying maximum sustained winds of 110kmh, the centre added.

Franklin was expected to weaken rapidly after making landfall.

The state of Veracruz, a major oil producer, is home to two important petroleum ports, one in Tuxpan and the other in the city of Veracruz.

Across Veracruz state's northern border is the Ciudad Madero refinery, capable of handling up to 190,000 barrels per day.

The plant is on the periphery of the storm's possible path.