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Twin storms on opposite coasts kill 21 in Mexico

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Mexico, already battered by heavy rain, landslides and floods on its Pacific and eastern coasts that have killed at least 21 people, braced Monday for an expected hit from Hurricane Ingrid.

Thousands of people were evacuated as Ingrid and remnants of what was once Tropical Storm Manuel flanked Mexico on the Pacific and Gulf coasts, causing rivers to overflow, flooding streets and damaging bridges.

The country was facing an "atypical and unusual" situation, as it has never before been hit by a hurricane 24 hours after a tropical storm made landfall, National Weather Service coordinator Juan Manuel Caballero told a news conference.

Hurricane Ingrid was approaching the east coast ahead of an expected landfall. State-run energy firm Pemex evacuated three oil platforms off the Gulf coast of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas and shut down 24 wells.

On the Pacific side, Manuel dissipated over west-central Mexico, hours after making landfall near the Colima state town of Manzanillo, the US National Hurricane Center said.

But the weather system was still producing heavy rainfall likely to trigger more floods and mudslides, the Miami-based center said.

At least 11 of the 21 deaths were in the Pacific resort of Acapulco, where water rose as high as three feet (one meter) in some neighborhoods, dragging cars away.

The port and the international airport were closed and the highway linking Mexico City to Acapulco shut down due to landslides and flooding in the southwestern state of Guerrero.

Some 2,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the state, while more than 20,000 households lost power.

"For the moment, there are officially 21 people dead," national civil protection chief Luis Felipe Puente told a news conference.

In Acapulco, five people died when a wall collapsed and six members of the same family were killed when a landslide crushed their home, said Puente and local civil protection and Red Cross officials.

A woman was killed by a landslide elsewhere in Guerrero, while a man and a child died in a landslide in the state capital Chilpancingo, Puente said.

Guerrero state civil protection official Constantino Gonzales Vargas told AFP that six people died in a road accident due to slippery conditions, but Puente did not report these fatalities.

In the central state of Hidalgo, a nurse and her driver drowned when their car was swept away by an overflowing river, civil protection officials there said. Another woman died in a landslide.

Three people, including a 16-year-old boy, were killed in a landslide in Tlatlauquitepec, a mountain town in central state of Puebla.

Puente reported another storm-related death in the southern state of Oaxaca.

As Hurricane Ingrid lumbered toward the east coast, officials canceled independence day celebrations in several towns of the northeastern state of Tamaulipas.

The category one hurricane had already forced the evacuation of 6,000 people in the east coast state of Veracruz after two rivers overflowed their banks.

The US National Hurricane Center said that Ingrid was about 95 miles (153 kilometers) northeast of Tampico, Tamaulipas at 0600 GMT.

Packing maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour, Ingrid could slightly strengthen before making landfall but will then start weakening, the NHC said.

The storm was moving west-northwestward at seven miles per hour.

The forecasters also said Ingrid was expected to trigger a storm surge of as much as four feet, with "large and destructive waves".

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130916/twin-storms-opposite-coasts-kill-21-mexico