Tropical storm Arlene hits Mexico

Two people killed and 200,000 others could be affected as the storm moves inland.

     Tropical storm Arlene moved inland lashing central Mexico with torrential rains  [Reuters]

    Mexican authorities have confirmed two deaths from the tropical storm Arlene, as large parts of central Mexico are being lashed by torrential rains.

    Arlene is the first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season and, as tropical storms go, it is a powerful one, with winds only just below that of hurricane strength.

    It is moving westwards at around 15kph with winds around 95kph with significantly higher gusts.

    Civil protection officials said on Friday that one person had been electrocuted to death by a downed powerline in the coastal state of Tamaulipas and another person was killed after a house collapsed in Hidalgo state.

    The storm crossed the east coast in the early hours of Thursday morning close to the fishing town of Tuxpan in Veracruz state.

    Rainfall totals in the region were up around 100mm in the 24 hour period, prior to making landfall.

    The impact of the storm is expected to be wide reaching.

    As it crosses central Mexico, it will weaken quickly in terms of the winds. However, many parts will be drenched and it is possible that some areas could see as much as 200mm of rain by Saturday.

    Flash floods

    This will inevitably lead to life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.

    Local emergency services estimate that around 200,000 people could be affected by the worst impact of the storm.

    About 13 states are at risk across the country and if the heavy rains extend as far as the state of Tamaulipas, they would fall on soil dried out by the most severe drought to hit the area in 50 years.

    We may be faced with the stark contrast of floods in the south and desperately needed rain in the north.

    It is possible that even the far south of Texas could also get some much-needed rain from this system.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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