by Staff Writers
Mexico City (AFP) Aug 26, 2013
Tropical Storm Fernand formed Sunday in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to hit the Mexican coastal state of Veracuz early Monday, the country's national weather service said.
The storm is expected to cause heavy rains, intense winds and strong waves in Veracruz and neighboring Tabasco and Tamaulipas states, the agency said.
Veracruz governor Javier Duarte announced he was closing schools throughout the state on Monday, as a cautionary measure.
As of 2230 GMT, the storm was 45 kilometers (28 miles) east of Verazruz, the state's main port, and was moving to the west at 19 kilometers an hour, with sustained winds up to 75 kilometers an hour.
Fernand is the fifth named storm this year in the Atlantic, where the hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast a more than usually violent season of 13 to 19 named storms including six to nine hurricanes.
Meanwhile, in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Ivo, which formed Friday off Mexico has downgraded to a tropical depression. It remains near the touristy coastal state of Baja California Sur.
State Civil Protection director Carlos Enrique Rincon said access to the small tourist town of Loreto was cut off as rivers have flooded the main highway.
Most of Loreto's residents had been evacuated on Saturday night, and at least 400 people are in shelters, the town's mayor, Jorge Aviles, said.
The town's port has been closed, but the international airport is functioning normally, Aviles added.
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