Ingrid becomes hurricane, threatening Mexican coast

Tropical storm Ingrid strengthens into the second hurricane of the Atlantic storm season off Mexico, prompting the evacuation of several thousand people as Canadian officials issue a travel warning for some areas of Mexico.

Foreign Affairs warns that storm could bring life-threatening flash floods

A man walks through a flooded street during heavy rains in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico on Friday. Canada has issued a Mexico travel warning for Canadians, as Ingrid strengthens to a hurricane off Mexico's Gulf Coast. (Felix Marquez/Associated Press)

Tropical storm Ingrid strengthened into the second hurricane of the Atlantic storm season off Mexico on Saturday, prompting the evacuation of several thousand people as Canadian officials issued a travel warning for some areas of Mexico.

Foreign Affairs advised against non-essential travel from Cabo Rojo to La Pesca, on Mexico's Gulf coast, due to Hurricane Ingrid, and recommended people check updates from the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami. 

Meanwhile, tropical storm Manuel threatened to cause flash floods and mudslides on the opposite side of the country.

On Saturday evening, Hurricane Ingrid was packing maximum sustained winds of 120 km/h. The storm was centred about 315 km east of Tuxpan, Mexico, and moving north at 11 km/h.

The U.S. hurricane centre said that if Ingrid stays on the forecast track, it's likely to reach the coast of Mexico on Monday.

In Tamaulipas state to the north, where the Hurricane Center says Ingrid will probably make landfall, the government said in a statement that Independence Day festivities were cancelled in the cities of Tampico, Madero and Altamira. The Sept. 15 and 16 celebrations commemorate Mexico's battle of independence from Spain.

Officials in the Gulf state of Veracruz began evacuating coastal residents Friday night, and local civil protection authorities said that more than 5,300 people had been moved to safer ground. Of those, about 3,500 people were being housed in official shelters with the rest staying with family and friends. There were no immediate reports of injuries blamed on the storm.

More than 1,000 homes in Veracruz state have been affected by the storm to varying degrees, and 20 highways and 12 bridges have suffered damage, according to the state's civil protection authority.

A bridge collapsed near the northern Veracruz city of Misantla Friday, cutting off the area from the state capital. Thirteen people died when a landslide buried their homes in heavy rains spawned by tropical depression Fernand on Monday.

State officials imposed an orange alert, the highest possible, in parts of southern Veracruz.

Off Mexico's Pacific coast, tropical storm Manuel was moving with maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h. It was 120 kilometres off the city of Lazaro Cardenas and 300 kilometres southeast of Manzanillo. A tropical storm warning was in effect from Acapulco to Manzanillo.

Manuel was expected to produce 250 to 380 millimetres of rain over parts of the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, and life-threatening flash floods and mudslides were considered likely.

Elsewhere, the remnants of tropical storm Humberto were swirling in the Atlantic, far from land. It was expected to regenerate in a couple of days, according to the hurricane centre.

With files from CBC News


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