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Yucatan under alert, braces for more drenching from Cristobal

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Tropical Storm Cristobal has put Yucatan on Yellow Alert. Photo: Courtesy

For the western and southern Yucatan Peninsula, a yellow alert has been declared by the state Civil Protection Committee as Tropical Storm Cristobal hovers over Campeche. It will probably strengthen Friday when it reaches Yucatan on its way to the U.S. coast, forecasters said.

Flooding, torrential rains and strong winds are likely, especially on the Yucatan coast.

“In just 72 hours it has rained in our state 25% of what rains throughout the year and heavy rains are expected to continue over the next few days, so we ask the population to stay tuned for recommendations and attend to the directions of the authorities,” said Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal in an advisory posted around 8 a.m. today.

Temporary shelters open today for families in Celestún and Sisal.

{ Related: Preparing for a hurricane in Yucatan }

The yellow stage suggests between 12 and 60 hours before danger hits. The community is expected to pay close attention to official information.

Tropical Storm Cristobal has moved very little since making landfall Wednesday morning. The storm has weakened and will likely become a depression as it continues to hover over land today. Even though wind speeds will likely keep dropping, heavy rain is still a big threat to southeast Mexico.

Also, for this Thursday a hot environment is forecast. The minimum expected temperature at sunrise is 22 to 24 degrees Celsius and the maximum temperature of 25 to 27 degrees.

By Friday, the system will strengthen and begin to move north into the south-central Gulf of Mexico. The storm will bring increasing waves and swells and a high risk of rip currents. It will approach the northern Gulf coast by Sunday evening.

A direct landfall in the United States looks most likely somewhere along the Louisiana coast sometime Sunday into very early Monday, but a landfall can’t be ruled out from the east Texas coast to the Mississippi Gulf coast. The forecast calls for Cristobal to move ashore as a strong tropical storm.

A fake notice circulated online that all Yucatan was under an orange evacuation alert, indicating a much higher level of danger. Government officials debunked the “falso” advisory on social media.

The storm’s sustained winds weakened to 45 mph / 75 kph after it moved inland Wednesday near Ciudad del Carmen.

The Army evacuated 138 people in Campeche after floodwaters threatened homes, and police there reported water washing across highways.

In Merida, streets and homes were flooded. Cars parked below street level were submerged. The underground parking garage at the Harbor mall also flooded, with water reaching escalators.

Cristobal formed Tuesday from the remnants of the Pacific Tropical Storm Amanda that had caused deadly flooding and landslides in Central America. At least 22 deaths in El Salvador and Guatemala were blamed on the storm.

Cristobal was the earliest third named storm of an Atlantic hurricane season on record. In 2016, Tropical Storm Colin formed in the Gulf on June 5.

Source: Wire, local media reports

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