Hurricane Karl kills 2, remnants drench Central Mexico

Karl weakened to a tropical depression on Friday night.

Cordoba: Authorities in central Mexico were on alert early Saturday for possible mudslides and flooding as the remnants of Hurricane Karl pushed inland hours after the storm swept onto the Gulf coast and killed two people.

Out in the Atlantic, meanwhile, Hurricane Igor strengthened into a Category 2 storm and became better organised on a track to approach Bermuda late Sunday.

Karl, which caused widespread property damage as a hurricane in the port city of Veracruz, weakened to a tropical depression on Friday night and was expected to quickly dissipate over the mountains, the US National Hurricane Centre in Miami said.

A landslide buried a house in the town of Nexticapan, killing a 61-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl and injuring two other people, said Aru Becerra, a spokeswoman for Civil Protection in Puebla, a state bordering the Mexican capital.

Authorities across central Mexico prepared for possible flash floods and mudslides. Mexico City officials put hospitals on alert and sent workers to evaluate hillside neighbourhoods and flood-risk zones.

Officials in the capital and nearby Cuernavaca put crews on alert and designated schools and other buildings as possible shelters. The Mexican capital was in a state of "blue alert," meaning the risk was considered moderate, city Civil Protection Secretary Elias Moreno said.

The storm had sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) when it hit land at midday about 10 miles (15 kilometres) northwest of Veracruz. Its winds were down to 35 mph (55 kph) by nightfall.

Karl knocked down trees, billboards and power poles in Veracruz, making some streets unusable, said the city`s civil protection chief, Isidro Cano Luna. He said there had not been a storm like it since Hurricane Janet in 1955.

Veracruz state Governor Fidel Herrera surveyed the heaviest damage in the coastal towns north of the port. Food huts along the beach were destroyed in the fishing town of Chachalaca. Ten homes collapsed or lost their roofs in Ursulo Galvan.

About 70 homes were flooded, and more than 22,000 people lost power, although electricity was restored to many neighborhoods within hours.

Bureau Report