Hurricane Manuel hammers Mexico (+video)
Hurricane Manuel is hammering the western Mexico state of Sinaloa, dumping up to 20 inches of rain. Hurricane Manuel is expected to weaken to a tropical storm over the next 24 hours.
Mexico's government said 58 people were missing after a massive landslide smashed through a tiny coffee-growing village deep in the country's southern mountains, where fresh waves of rain threatened to unleash more danger for rescue workers trying to evacuate the last residents from the isolated hamlet.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The storm that devastated Mexico's Pacific coast over the weekend regained strength Wednesday and became Hurricane Manuel, dumping rain on fishing villages on the coast of Sinaloa state. It is a third blow to a country still reeling from the one-two punch of Manuel's first landfall and Hurricane Ingrid on Mexico's eastern coast.
Federal officials raised the death toll from Manuel from 60 to 80 earlier Wednesday. They said they were not yet declaring the 58 dead in the village of La Pintada several hours north of Acapulco, but it appeared unlikely that they had survived.
"It's very likely that these 58 missing people lost their lives," Angel Aguirre, governor of storm-battered Guerrero state, told reporters.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Manuel was a Category 1 hurricane nearing Mexico's coast early Thursday and expected to produce 75 mph winds and between 8 and 12 inches of rain (and pockets of 20 inches in places) over the state of Sinaloa. The center of Manuel is expected to slowly move inland over western Mexico in the next 24 hours. The National Hurricane Center describes Manuel as a "small tropical cyclone" with hurricane force winds extending up to 15 miles from the center, and tropical storm winds (below 75 m.p.h.) extending outward up to 60 miles.
Sinaloa state civil protection authorities said some areas were already flooding and dozens were evacuated in an area of small fishing villages.
Heavy rains also began pelting the state of Guerrero again Wednesday night, increasing the risk for federal police trying to evacuate the last 45 residents of the village of La Pintada, where tons of dirt and rocks smashed through the center of town Monday night, burying a church and an untold number of two-story homes.
Federal authorities reached La Pintada by helicopter and evacuated 334 people, some of whom are hurt, one seriously, said Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong.
Osorio Chong said there was a risk of more landslides for the federal police who stayed in the village overnight and hoped to leave with the last 45 residents on helicopters early Thursday morning.
He said the landslide went right through the middle of the village of some 600 people, accessible in normal conditions by winding mountain roads now broken multiple times by landslides and flooding.
In Acapulco, three days of Biblical rain and leaden skies evaporated into broiling late-summer sunshine that roasted thousands of furious tourists trying vainly to escape the city, and hundreds of thousands of residents returning to homes devastated by reeking tides of brown floodwater.