Hundreds flee as storm Ingrid threatens Mexico's Gulf coast
Mexican authorities rushed to evacuate riverside communities in Veracruz as Tropical Storm Ingrid lashed the Gulf coast state with heavy rains, threatening more damage in a region where dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks amid landslides and flooding.
The state government said on Friday neighbourhoods located near riverbanks in eight Veracruz townships would be evacuated amid warnings the Tecolutla river could overflow its banks. The evacuees were to be taken to shelters set up in schools and other government buildings.
Ingrid could become a hurricane shortly before hitting land near the Gulf coast port city of Tampico sometime later today or early tomorrow, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.
Mexico declared a hurricane watch for the Gulf coast from La Pesca, just south of the US border, to a point near Tuxpan, south of Tampico.
Ingrid's maximum sustained winds late on Friday were near 95 km/h, according to the Hurricane Centre.
It was nearly stationary and centred about 105 kilometres east of the port city of Veracruz, but forecasters said it was likely to advance north and curve into the coast near Tampico during Mexico's long Independence Day weekend.
At least three major rivers in the eastern state of Veracruz were flooding or close to overflowing their banks and hundreds of people were evacuating low-lying areas, officials said.