Hurricane Franklin Makes Landfall on Mexico’s Coast

MEXICO CITY (AP) -
Red flags serve as markers to warn beachgoers to stay out of the water ahead of the arrival of Tropical Storm Franklin, in the port city of Veracruz, Mexico, Wednesday. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

Hurricane Franklin roared ashore on a thinly populated part of Mexico’s central Gulf coast early Thursday and began weakening as it pounded a mountainous region prone to flash floods and mudslides with rains and heavy winds.

Franklin became the first hurricane of the Atlantic season on Wednesday and hit north of Veracruz city as a Category 1 storm early Thursday. As a tropical storm, Franklin made a relatively mild run across the Yucatan Peninsula earlier in the week.

Authorities in Veracruz State canceled classes at public schools as a precautionary measure. Schools are frequently used as storm shelters in Mexico.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Franklin had slipped to tropical storm force Thursday morning with maximum sustained winds near 60 mph (95 kph). Additional weakening was forecast and Franklin was expected to dissipate Thursday.

Franklin was moving westward at 15 mph.

Mexican officials said the storm did less damage than feared as it rolled across the Yucatan early in the week, but there was concern it could bring flooding to the mountainous territory east of Mexico City.

Forecasters said Franklin could drop four to eight inches of rain, with localized amounts of up to 15 inches.