WEATHER: 24 dead as tropical storm, hurricane batter Mexico

11:24 PM, Sep 15, 2013   |    comments
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ACAPULCO, Mexico (AP) - Tropical Storm Manuel swept onto Mexico's Pacific coast Sunday while Hurricane Ingrid swirled offshore on the other side of the country, as heavy rains and landslides caused at least 24 deaths and led authorities to evacuate thousands.

Stormy conditions led some communities in affected states to cancel Independence Day celebrations planned for Sunday and Monday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Manuel began to weaken as soon as it made landfall near the port of Manzanillo during the afternoon, but remained a threat to produce flash floods and mudslides. It was predicted to dissipate by Monday.

In the southern coastal state of Guerrero, authorities said a landslide on the outskirts of Acapulco buried a house and killed six family members. Three people were swept to their deaths by a river, also on the edge of the resort city. A collapsing wall killed one person in the city.

Elsewhere in Guerrero, six people died when their pickup truck skidded on a rain-swept highway in the mountains, and landslides killed two more people.

The rains caused some rivers to overflow, damaging hundreds of homes and disrupting communications for several hours.

Manuel had maximum sustained winds of about 40 mph (65 kph) and was moving to the northwest at 9 mph (15 kph) late Sunday afternoon. Its center was about 35 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Manzanillo.

Rains from Ingrid caused landslides that killed three people in the central state of Puebla, and a woman died when a landslide buried her house in Hidalgo state.

In the southern state of Oaxaca, which was affected by both storms, authorities said a child died after being swept away by a swollen river and a teenager was killed by a landslide.

The hurricane center said Ingrid, the second hurricane of the Atlantic storm season, could reach the Mexican mainland by Monday morning.

Manuel was expected to dump 10 to 15 inches of rain over parts of Guerrero and Michoacan state, with maximums of 25 inches possible in some isolated areas. Authorities said those rains would present an especially dangerous threat in mountains, where flash floods and mudslides were possible.

Ingrid also was expected to dump very heavy rains. It had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and was centered about 125 miles (200 kilometers) east-northeast of the port city of Tampico as it moved northwest at 3 mph (6 kph). A hurricane warning was in effect from Cabo Rojo to La Pesca.

In Tamaulipas state to the north, where Ingrid was expected to come ashore, the government said in a statement that Independence Day festivities were cancelled in the cities of Tampico, Madero and Altamira. The Sept. 15 and 16 celebrations commemorate Mexico's battle of independence from Spain.

Officials in the Gulf state of Veracruz began evacuating coastal residents Friday night, and civil protection authorities said more than 6,600 people had been moved to shelters or the homes of family and friends.

More than 1,000 homes in Veracruz state had been affected by the storm to varying degrees, and 20 highways and 12 bridges had damage, the state's civil protection authority said. A bridge collapsed near the northern Veracruz city of Misantla on Friday, cutting off the area from the state capital, Xalapa.

A week ago, 13 people died in the state when a landslide buried their homes in heavy rains spawned by Tropical Depression Fernand.

Officials in Tamaulipas state said 700 people had been evacuated from coastal communities.

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Associated Press writers Rodrigo Soberanes Santin in Xalapa, Efrain Klerigan in Ciudad Victoria and Rodrigo Soberanes Santin in Veracruz contributed to this report.