The remnants of Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Storm Manuel drenched Mexico with torrential rains yesterday, flooding towns and cities and setting off landslides in a national emergency that caused at least 34 deaths.
The Mexican government said the country had not seen a similar weather crisis since 1958, when the country was simultaneously hit by two tropical storms.
The governor of the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz announced that 12 people died when a landslide smashed into a bus travelling through the town of Altotonga, about 40 miles north-west of the state capital.
More than 23,000 people fled their homes in the state due to heavy rains spawned by Ingrid, and 9,000 went to emergency shelters. At least 20 highways and 12 bridges had been damaged, the state’s civil protection authority said.
Some of the heaviest damage was in the southern coastal state of Guerrero, where Mexico’s government reported 15 confirmed deaths from Manuel.
State officials said people had been killed in landslides, drownings in a swollen river and a truck crash on a rain-slickened mountain highway.
Flooding closed the main highway from Mexico City to Acapulco, and power cuts shut the resort city’s main airport, isolating many tourists over a long holiday weekend.
Telephone service was cut around the state, though authorities said it was mostly restored by yesterday afternoon.
Mexico’s federal Civil Protection coordinator, Luis Felipe Puente, said that stormy weather from one or both of the two systems also caused three deaths in Hidalgo, three in Puebla and one in Oaxaca.
Manuel came ashore as a tropical storm on Sunday afternoon near the Pacific port of Manzanillo, but quickly lost strength and was downgraded to a tropical depression that day. It dissipated into an unorganised rain system yesterday.
Manuel dumped heavy rains over much of the states of Guerrero, Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit, presenting a dangerous threat in mountains where flash floods and mudslides were possible.
Late yesterday, Ingrid had moved inland over north-eastern Mexico and was a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds of 30mph. Its centre was about 10 miles west of the Ciudad Vitoria, capital of Tamaulipas and was moving west at 5mph. Forecasters predicted the storm would dissipate today.