Tropical storm Pamela weakens as moves inland over Mexico
Pamela made landfall on the western coast of Mexico on Wednesday as a Category One hurricane but weakened to a tropical storm as it moved inland while bringing torrential rain, strong winds and taking down trees and poles.
At 1200 GMT, Pamela crossed on to land about 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of the Pacific port of Mazatlan, in the northwestern state of Sinaloa, with sustained winds of 120 kph (75 mph) and was moving at 22 kph (14 mph), according to data from the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).
But as it moved over land, Pamela lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 100 kph, the NHC said.
At 1500 GMT the center of the storm was 140 kilometers from Mazatlan and heading northeast at 37 kph, the NHC added.
Sinaloa was the Mexican state worst affected by the hurricane, which also brought heavy rainfall to neighboring Nayarit and Durango, Mexico's national water commission said.
In Mazatlan, home to 500,000 people, Pamela brought down trees and poles, and left some streets submerged with water, an AFP reporter noted.
Sinaloa's civil protection force published images of rescuers helping residents of affected areas before taking them to shelters.
On Tuesday, 16 US citizens were taken to shelters after being stranded at the local airport when their flights were cancelled due to bad weather.
They are due to remain there until conditions improve, said Eloy Ruiz, the local civil protection coordinator.
Authorities called on residents of rural areas to move to shelters due to the risk of flooding.
In Villa Union, a town of 13,000 people, 25 families living in a high-risk area were taken to shelters, local authorities said.
Sinaloa's government declared a red alert on Tuesday night in 10 municipalities. Many of those residents rushed to supermarkets to stock up on food and water.
School classes and other activities have been temporarily suspended.
The NHC said heavy rainfall may trigger flash flooding and mudslides as Pamela tracks inland.
Storm surges are expected to produce "significant" coastal flooding and "large and destructive waves," the center added.
The remnants of Pamela could drench portions of Texas and Oklahoma by late Wednesday and Thursday with the potential for "considerable flash and urban flooding impacts."
Because of its location, Mexico is often hit by tropical storms and hurricanes on both its Pacific and Atlantic coasts.
In August, Hurricane Nora made landfall in the Pacific state of Jalisco, killing a child and leaving one person missing.
Hurricane Grace left at least 11 dead on the eastern coast of Mexico's mainland in the same month.
In September, Hurricane Olaf made landfall on the Baja California peninsula, causing minor damage.
© 2021 AFP