Tropical Systems Flank Southern Mexico Bringing Deadly Flooding
Tropical Storm Ingrid formed off Mexico’s southern Gulf Coast while a tropical depression developed in the Pacific, a one-two punch that’s expected to unleash torrential rain and mudslides.
The two systems will probably bring at least 15 inches (38 centimeters) of rain throughout southern Mexico, with 25 inches possible in some areas, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in advisories issued at 10 a.m. Mexico City time. Tropical storm warnings were posted on both coasts.
“These rains are likely to result in life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in mountainous terrain,” the center said.
Ingrid, the ninth tropical storm of the Atlantic season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, is currently drifting west across the Bay of Campeche where Petroleos Mexicanos, Mexico’s state-owned oil company known as Pemex, has its two largest oil fields. They produce about 1.25 million barrels a day.
Pemex suspended air and sea operations at its rigs in the bay, according to a company statement. The oil ports of Cayo Arcas, which processes about 68 percent of Mexico’s crude exports, and Dos Bocas were closed.
Ingrid was 60 miles (97 kilometers) east-northeast of Veracruz with maximum sustained winds of 45 miles per hour, according to the center in Miami. Tropical depression 13E in the Pacific was about 140 miles south of Zihuatanejo with top winds of 35 mph.
A system becomes a tropical storm when its winds reach 39 mph and a hurricane at 74 mph.
On the Atlantic coast, a tropical storm warning is in effect from Coatzacoalcos to Cabo Rojo and a watch is in place further north to La Pesca, according to the center. In the Pacific, a warning has been issued from Acapulco to Lazaro Cardenas.
Ingrid is forecast to strike near Tampico, Mexico, early next week, according to the hurricane center.
On its current track, it won’t be a threat to U.S. production areas in the Gulf of Mexico, said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
The Gulf is home to about 5.6 percent of U.S. gas output, 23 percent of crude production and more than 45 percent of petroleum refining capacity, Energy Department data show.
Rogers said clouds and rain from Ingrid may cross into Texas next week, bringing cooler temperatures that will dull electricity demand across the state.
The main impact of the storms will be the “mammoth rainfall amounts” across southern Mexico, said Michael Schlacter, founder of Weather 2000 Inc. in New York.
“The worst thing for heavy rain are hills, mountains and mud, and those mountains climb up in a hurry,” Schlacter said by telephone. “The consequences for humanitarian purposes are just that more horrific.”
Schlacter said it’s possible heavy rain will fall across southern Mexico for the next five days.
The hurricane center is also tracking Tropical Depression Gabrielle and Tropical Storm Humberto.
Gabrielle was about 410 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, moving north-northeast at 23 mph, according to an advisory. It was expected to be absorbed by a cold front.
Heavy-rain warnings have been issued for parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and the Iles-de-la-Madeleine by Environment Canada. About 3 inches of rain is expected to fall in Halifax.
Humberto, with top winds of 65 mph, was about 765 miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands and isn’t an immediate threat to land, the center said.
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