Hurricane Ingrid barrels its way towards Mexico
Mexican authorities evacuated about 5,000 people as Hurricane Ingrid gained strength and threatened to lash Mexico with heavy rains and floods when it is set to make landfall today.
The major storm comes just days after heavy rains lashed the southeastern state of Veracruz, killing 14 people this week alone, including 13 who died when a landslide crushed their homes in a mountainous region of the Gulf Coast state.
Veracruz emergency services chief Ricardo Maza Limon said about 5,000 people living on the banks of the Tecolutla River had been evacuated, and at least 20 bridges were damaged during rains in the north of the state that cut off 71 communities.
The second hurricane of the 2013 season was packing top winds of 138 km/h as it headed northwest, the US National Hurricane Centre said.
It was located about 260 kilometres east of Tampico, off Mexico's Gulf Coast, with the NHC warning that the storm was bringing "very heavy rains and dangerous floods". The Mexican government issued a hurricane watch from north of La Pesca to Bahia Algodone.
A hurricane warning was also in effect from Cab Rojo to La Pesca, meaning that hurricane conditions where expected in that area within 36 hours.
Ingrid was expected to strengthen further before making landfall. Forecasters said it would likely dump 25-38 cm of rain over a large swathe of eastern Mexico, though some mountainous areas could experience up to 63cm of rainfall.