MEXICO CITY – The Yucatan Peninsula is on the alert for the imminent landfall of Tropical Storm Nate, which is bringing intense rains to southeastern Mexico, officials reported on Friday.
The national emergency management agency put on orange alert (high danger) the eastern and northern parts of Quintana Roo state and on yellow alert (moderate danger) the north and east of Yucatan state, those areas being Nate’s predicted targets.
The storm, which has already left more than 20 people dead in Central America, is located at 280 kilometers (168 miles) southeast of the island of Cozumel and 345 kilometers east of Chetumal, both in Quintana Roo.
Nate is proceeding north-northeast at 33 kph (21 mph) with sustained winds of 85 kph and gusts of up to 100 kph.
The National Meteorological Service (SMN) declared a watch zone from Punta Herrero in Quintana Roo to Rio Lagartos in Yucatan.
Experts forecast powerful storms with intense rainfall of 75 to 150 millimeters (3 to 6 inches) in Campeche state.
“Its cloud bands favor gusts of wind above 70 kph and waves from 2 to 4 meters (6˝ to 13 feet) high along the coast of Quintana Roo and northern Yucatan,” the SMN said.
According to the forecast, Tropical Storm Nate at 7:00 pm will be positioned at some 55 kilometers east-northeast of the tourist city of Cancun.
Before dawn Saturday it will move out into the Gulf of Mexico where it will gain strength and upgrade to a Category 1 hurricane around 7:00 pm, when it will be at some 355 kilometers north of Rio Lagartos in Yucatan.
Authorities asked those sailing on the sea and the general population to take extreme precautions in the areas where heavy rainfall, high winds and storm surges are forecast, and to follow the recommendations issued by the emergency management agency.