Grace makes landfall as a category 3 hurricane in Mexico

August 21, 2021

MEXICO CITY — Grace, a category 3 hurricane, made landfall south of Tuxpan on the eastern coast of Mexico early Saturday, as the president urged residents in its path to seek refuge in shelters or on higher ground.

Strong winds will continue to batter the region through the morning hours, the National Hurricane Center said.

On Friday night, Grace was a Category 3 Hurricane, blowing maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (195 km per hour), with higher gusts, Reuters quoted the National Hurricane Center (NHC) as saying.

Through Sunday, the NHC forecast Grace would dump 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) of rain over large swaths of eastern and central Mexico, and up to 18 inches in some areas. The heavy rainfall would likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it said.

Heavy rainfall, with isolated amounts over a foot, will bring the risk of flash flooding and mudslides through the weekend, the center said.

Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, northern Querétaro and eastern San Luis Potosí could see significant flash and urban flooding as well as mudslides through the weekend.

Those areas may get 6 to 12 inches of rain with isolated totals up to 18 inches through Sunday, the hurricane center said.

Late Friday, Mexico's civil protection authority in Veracruz issued an emergency declaration for 22 municipalities ahead of Grace's landfall.

The declaration allows authorities access to resources to provide food, shelter and health care to the affected population.

Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said 7,829 civil protection elements, personnel from the Ministry of Defense, the Navy and the Federal Electricity Commission are standing by.

"I join the call to ask the people of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas, and Hidalgo to seek refuge in high places with relatives and in shelters that are being set up," López Obrador said.

By Saturday morning, Grace is expected to be well inland, quickly weakening as it moves inward. "The latest NHC intensity forecast has Grace dissipating over Mexico in about 36 hours," forecasters said.

Grace already hit Mexico once before, plunging through the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday before weakening to a tropical storm, with sustained winds of 80 mph.

The eastern coast of the Yucatán, including Cancun, Cozumel and Punta Herrero, were under a hurricane warning since Tuesday due to Grace becoming better organized as it moved west, battering Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Earlier this week, Grace also passed over Haiti, which was in recovering from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that killed least at 1,941 people. About 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, were affected by the earthquake, according to UNICEF. — CNN with inputs from agencies

August 21, 2021
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