|Mexican authorities have warned the population in Yucatan Peninsula to expect heavy rains [EPA]|
Karl, a tropical storm, has hit Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and is expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico, threatening oil installations and possibly gaining hurricane strength.
Hundreds of people, mostly from Mayan towns and villages, were being evacuated on Wednesday as Karl brought rain and brought strong winds to the Yucatan, civil protection authorities said.
Majahual, home to a large cruise ship port, and the ecological reserve of Sian Kaan, near the Mayan ruins of Tulum, were also being affected by the storm.
Authorities had warned the population in Yucatan, from Chetumal at the Mexico-Belize border to Cabo Catoche, of heavy rains, an area known for its white sand beaches and coral reefs.
“Restrengthening is forecast on Thursday after Karl moves over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico where Karl is likely to become a hurricane,” the US National Hurricane Centre said.
While Karl is likely to miss US oil and natural gas rigs in the northern part of the Gulf upon reaching the water again, forecasters said it may hit Mexican oil rigs.
Pemex, Mexico’s state-run oil giant, said it had not yet taken any action but was monitoring Karl closely.
Karl, the 11th named storm of the hurricane season, had maximum sustained winds of about 100km an hour, the US National Hurricane Centre said.
Two hurricanes, Igor and Julia, also swept across the Atlantic Ocean but posed no immediate threat to land or energy interests along its projected track.
Igor, about 1,755km southeast of Bermuda, showed signs of weakening overnight but was still a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.
Julia, another Category 4 hurricane, was strengthening overnight 845km west of the Cape Verde Islands and moving northwest.