Katia weakens after making landfall in Mexico

View of a gas station damaged by strong winds during the passage of Hurricane Katia in Poza Rica, Mexico, on Sept 9, 2017.
View of a gas station damaged by strong winds during the passage of Hurricane Katia in Poza Rica, Mexico, on Sept 9, 2017. PHOTO: AFP

TECOLUTLA (Mexico) • Storm Katia rapidly weakened yesterday after it made landfall near the working-class beach resort of Tecolutla in the state of Veracruz on the Mexican Gulf coast, the US National Hurricane Centre said.

Katia was downgraded from a hurricane to a tropical depression, blowing maximum sustained winds of nearly 56kmh as it moved into the interior of Mexico, the centre said in an advisory.

The storm had landed on Friday with sustained winds of 120kmh.

Veracruz state officials said in a statement on Friday that the storm could cause landslides and flooding, and urged people living below hills and slopes to be prepared to evacuate.

Mr Luis Felipe Puente, head of Mexico's national emergency services, has said that Katia had "worrying characteristics", as it was very slow-moving and could dump a lot of rain on areas that have been saturated in recent weeks.

State oil and gas company Pemex has installations in and around the coast of Veracruz, but the firm has not reported any disruption to its operations.

Mexico is also dealing with the aftermath of a powerful earthquake last Thursday night.

The quake, the strongest to strike the country in over 80 years, killed at least 61 people.

As Katia was making landfall, Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, walloped Cuba's northern coast as a Category 5 storm. Millions of Florida residents were ordered to evacuate after the storm killed 21 people in the eastern Caribbean and left catastrophic destruction in its wake.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose continued to gather strength far out in the Atlantic and was nearing Category 5 strength as it churned about 700km east to south-east of the Northern Leeward Islands.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 10, 2017, with the headline 'Katia weakens after making landfall in Mexico'. Print Edition | Subscribe