Tropical Storm Katia Weakens As It Enters Mexico

Katia now third hurricane in tropics; forms in SW Gulf of Mexico

Hurricane Katia is strengthening as it bears down on Mexico's Gulf coast.

As of its 2 a.m. advisory, the National Hurricane Center said Katia was 180 miles east-southeast of Tampico, Mexico, and 165 miles north-northeast of Veracruz, Mexico. According to the forecast, Hurricane Katia has sustained winds of 180 kph and can reach gusts of 200 kph, although it is expected to downgrade into a tropical storm on its path west and enter into Mexican territory.

The storm was expected to stall near the Sierra Madre Mountains, the centre said.

"We are expecting the hurricane to hit on Friday night or in the early hours of Saturday", Veracruz governor Miguel Angel Yunes told Radio Formula.

The government of Mexico issued a hurricane warning for the coast of Mexico from Cabo Rojo to Laguna Verde and a tropical storm warning for Cabo Rojo north to Rio Panuco and south of Laguna Verde to Puerto Veracruz. The quake, the strongest to strike the country in more than 80 years, killed at least 61 people.

Officials in Veracruz say Katia could cause landslides and flooding.

Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century and a Category 5, spread devastation in Saint Martin, where it killed eight people, and Barbuda in the Caribbean as it took aim at Florida.

Katia has "worrying characteristics" because it is very slow moving and could dump a lot of rain on areas that have been saturated in recent weeks, Luis Felipe Puente, head of Mexico's national emergency services, told domestic television on Wednesday.

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