Hurricane threatens Mexican coast

Gulf coast braces for flash floods and mudslides as tropical storm Karl closes in on the region.

     Hurricane Karl is packing winds of up to 195km an hour as it gets closer to Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. [AFP]

    Mexico's Gulf coast is bracing for flash floods and mudslides as Hurricane Karl, packing winds of up to 195km an hour, heads towards the region for a second time.

    State oil giant Pemex evacuated its platforms as the storm came across the Yucatan Peninsula and as Igor, a separate storm, closed in on Bermuda on Friday.

    "Dangerous major hurricane Karl is approaching the Gulf Coast of Mexico," the US National Hurricane Centre warned in its latest update, adding that a "dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 12 to 15 feet above normal tide levels".

    Karl, the 11th named storm of the season, was centred about 80km northeast of Veracruz, with the system moving westward at 15km an hour, the centre said.

    Stormy season

    Mexican officials have posted hurricane warnings for the country's Gulf coast, in an effort to prevent casualties suffered during flooding earlier this month that left 25 people dead and affected nearly one million more.

    Meanwhile Hurricane Igor, a category three storm packing winds of 205km per hour, is threatening the British overseas territory of Bermuda.

    Authorities there are warning of potential devastation if the eye of the storm passed close by as forecast.

    "The island can expect tropical storm-force winds some time around midnight Saturday and even worse conditions late Sunday around midnight when the current forecast is for a direct hit," a spokeswoman for the Emergency Measures Organisation told Bermuda's Royal Gazette newspaper.

    "Residents are advised to take the warnings seriously as the island has not experienced such an intense storm since Hurricane Fabian hit Bermuda in 2003."

    Lined up behind Igor was Julia, a weakening category one hurricane out in the Atlantic with no current threats to land.

    The last time so many major storms churned in the Atlantic basin at the same time was in September 1998, when there were four hurricanes, including Georges, which killed more than 600 people and caused nearly $6bn in damage.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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