Archive for Thursday, July 21, 2005

Hurricane Emily weakens, hits along Mexican coast

July 21, 2005

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— Hurricane Emily swept ashore Wednesday and weakened, but it still threatened to unleash flash floods and landslides in the mountains after pounding the coast with 125 mph winds and forcing thousands along the Gulf of Mexico to flee.

The eye of the week-old hurricane came ashore before dawn near San Fernando, about 75 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. Emily's winds and torrential rains knocked out power, shredded metal roofs and shattered plate-glass windows.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries. Thousands of residents and tourists had been ordered to evacuate homes and hotels along the Gulf of Mexico. In southern Texas, about 4,000 people spent the night in 14 shelters.

Even as Emily lost strength as it moved inland, forecasters warned it still had the potential to cause major flooding and landslides, dumping as much as 15 inches of rain as it moves over the mountains of eastern Mexico.

"Emily is stick packing a punch," the National Hurricane Center said.

Emily's landfall Wednesday marked the second time in three days the storm hit Mexico. A Category 4 hurricane when it hit the Yucatan Peninsula with 135 mph winds Monday, it was a Category 1 storm Wednesday, with maximum sustained winds near 80 mph. The storm was expected to lose hurricane strength later in the day.

Last weekend, Emily drenched the south coast of Jamaica, killing four people and washing away at least three homes.

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