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Katia hits Mexico as Category 1 hurricane, crawling through and dumping heavy rain

hurricane-katia-mexico-landfall-september-9-2017

Katia weakened to a tropical depression near Mexico's Sierra Madre Mountains around 12:00 UTC on September 9 after making landfall north of Tecolutla in the state of Veracruz around 03:00 UTC. Although Katia was Category 2 hurricane and still strengthening while approaching the coast of eastern Mexico, its maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were 120 km/h (75 mph), placing Katia on the lower end of Category 1 hurricane. Its central pressure at the time of landfall was 988 hPa.

Katia was downgraded to a tropical storm when it was about 185 km (115 miles) northwest of Veracruz with sustained winds of 65 km/h (40 mph).

However, the threat from this system is still not over as Katia is very slow-moving and dumping heavy rain on areas that have been saturated in recent weeks. Landslides and flooding present a serious threat.

Veracruz authorities urged people living below hills and slopes to be prepared to evacuate.

Hurricane "Katia" making landfall over Veracruz, Mexico – September 8 – 9, 2017. Credit: NOAA/GOES-16 (preliminary and non-operational)

At 12:00 UTC today, the center of what's left of Katia was located about 235 km (145 miles) south of Tampico and 185 km (115 miles) WNW of Veracruz. Maximum sustained winds are now reaching 55 km/h (2 mph). The estimated minimum central pressure is 1004 hPa.

Tropical Depression "Katia" is crawling WSW at a speed of 4 km/h (2 mph) and is expected to continue drifting in that general direction until dissipation.

Katia is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 254 to 381 mm (10 to 15 inches) over northern Veracruz, eastern Hidalgo, and Puebla. Katia is also expected to produce total rain accumulations of 50.8 to 127 mm (2 to 5 inches) over southern Tamaulipas, eastern San Luis Potosi, western Hidalgo, eastern Queretaro, and southern Veracruz through Saturday evening. Isolated maximum amounts of 635 mm (25 inches) are possible in northern Veracruz, eastern Hidalgo, Puebla, and San Luis Potosi. This rainfall will likely cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain.

Water levels along the coast should continue to decrease as the center dissipates and winds subside.

Swells generated by Katia will begin to decrease along the coast of southeastern Mexico today. These swells may still cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.

Update

18:22 UTC

According to Veracruz Governor Miguel Angel, two people died in the mountainous region of Veracruz in a mudslide.

Featured image: Hurricane "Katia" at 23:30 UTC on September 8, 2017. Credit: NOAA/GOES-16 (preliminary and non-operational)

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