Storm Grace hits Mexico's Caribbean coast with rain, little damage seen

MEXICO CITY (REUTERS) – Tropical storm Grace dumped heavy rain on Mexico’s Caribbean coast on Thursday (Aug 19) but appeared to have spared local tourist resorts serious damage as it moved across the Yucatan Peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico, where it was due to strengthen again.

The government of Quintana Roo state, home to beach resorts Cancun and Tulum, said no one was hurt during the passage of Grace, which struck the Mexican coast as a Category 1 Hurricane in the morning before weakening to a tropical storm inland.

Social media images showed downed street signs and palm trees flailing in the wind near Tulum, and authorities reported some floods, power outages and toppled trees.

Heading westward, Grace was expected to hit the coast of Veracruz State as a hurricane late on Friday, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said. There were warnings of hurricane conditions and dangerous storm surge.

The NHC said Grace would dump 10cm to 20cm of rain over the Yucatan Peninsula through Friday, and up to 30cm in some areas. The heavy rainfall would likely cause areas of flash and urban flooding, it added.

Mexican officials said preparations had been made for the hurricane’s arrival, with dozens of military and rescue workers as well as staff from the national power utility, the Comision Federal Electricidad, gearing up to help.

“We’re ready,” Laura Velazquez, head of Mexico’s civil protection authority, told a regular news conference standing alongside President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Velazquez said the states of Quintana Roo, Campeche, Yucatan and Tabasco were likely to receive heavy rainfall.

Grace unleashed downpours and flooding over Haiti and Jamaica earlier this week. By Thursday afternoon it was about 120km east-northeast of Campeche, with top sustained winds of 97kmh, moving west at 29kmh, the NHC said.

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