Hurricane Ingrid barrels toward Mexico: US forecasters

A man walks through a flooded street during heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Ingrid in the Gulf port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Friday Sept 13., 2013. Ingrid became the second hurricane of the 2013 season on Saturday, US forecasters said, wit
A man walks through a flooded street during heavy rains caused by Tropical Storm Ingrid in the Gulf port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Friday Sept 13., 2013. Ingrid became the second hurricane of the 2013 season on Saturday, US forecasters said, with authorities in Mexico making emergency plans ahead of likely life-threatening conditions when it makes landfall. -- PHOTO: AP

MIAMI (AFP) - Ingrid became the second hurricane of the 2013 season on Saturday, US forecasters said, with authorities in Mexico making emergency plans ahead of likely life-threatening conditions when it makes landfall.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center said in a 2100 GMT bulletin that Ingrid was packing maximum sustained winds of 125kmh, and was headed northward at 11.2kmh.

The hurricane was located 315km east of Tuxpan, off Mexico's Gulf Coast, with the bulletin noting that the Mexican government had declared a hurricane watch from Cabo Rojo to La Pesca.

Ingrid was later expected to turn toward the north-west and then westward on Sunday with winds strengthening further before the hurricane is anticipated to reach the coast on Monday, the NHC said.

Forecasters said Ingrid would likely dump 25-38cm of rain over a large part of eastern Mexico, though some mountainous areas could experience up to 63.5cm of rainfall.

Such rains "are likely to result in life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the latest NHC bulletin said, with a dangerous storm surge capable of raising water levels as much as two- to four-feet above normal, with large and destructive waves predicted along the coast within 48 hours.

Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex said late Thursday that it had preemptively suspended "sea and air operations" in the area although rigs in the region continued to operate.

Heavy rain has lashed Veracruz this week, killing 14 people, including 13 of whom died when a landslide crushed their homes in a mountainous region of the Gulf Coast state.

Mexico's National Weather Service said torrential rains were expected in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Tabasco, Veracruz and Oaxaca.

The NHC meanwhile said Tropical Storm Manuel, also carrying life-threatening flash floods, should be near the south-western Mexican coast by early Sunday.

Manuel is moving northward at near seven miles per hour, packing maximum winds of 75kmh, and is located 135km south-southwest of Lazaro Cardenas, in Michoacan state.