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Rediff.com  » News » Hurricane Emily hits shore, weakens

Hurricane Emily hits shore, weakens

July 21, 2005 09:58 IST

Hurricane Emily chugged slowly inland and weakened on Wednesday, but still threatened to unleash flash flooding and landslides in the mountains after pounding the northeastern coastline with 125 mph winds, forcing the evacuations of thousands along the Gulf of Mexico.

The eye of the storm came ashore near San Fernando, about 120 km south of the US-Mexico border.

Emily's winds and torrential rains knocked out power, shredded metal roofs and shattered plate-glass windows.

There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

Thousands of residents and tourists had been ordered to evacuate homes and hotels along the Gulf of Mexico. In southern Texas, about 4,000 people spent the night in 14 shelters.

Even as Emily weakened while moving inland, forecasters warned the hurricane still had the potential to cause major flooding and landslides as it moves over the mountains of eastern Mexico. They said it could , dump as much as 40 cm of rain.

"Emily is stick packing a punch," the Miami-based National Hurricane Center announced.

Emily's landfall on Wednesday marked the second time in three days the storm hit Mexico. A Category 4 hurricane when it hit the Yucatan Peninsula with 217 kph winds on Monday, it had weakened to a Category 1 storm on Wednesday, with maximum sustained winds near 130 kph. The storm was expected to lose hurricane strength later in the day.

Officials in Mexico's Tamaulipas state, which borders Texas, said 18,000 people had been evacuated Tuesday from 20 low-lying, seaside communities-- including nearly everyone from the beachside community of Carbonera, a tiny fishing hamlet that appeared to have taken a direct hit from the storm.

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