Tropical Storm Franklin enters gulf waters, expected to strengthen

Aug. 8 (UPI) — Tropical Storm Franklin moved into the Gulf of Mexico after passing over the Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday as Mexico braces for the storm to potentially strengthen to hurricane.

The center of the storm was situated about 40 miles northwest of Campeche, Mexico, as of the National Hurricane Center’s 8 p.m. EDT advisory. Franklin hit the east coast of Mexico late Monday packing winds of about 60 mph.

The storm weakened over land, though, and has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with higher gusts. It is moving west-northwest at 12 mph.

Heavy rain hit Belize and Yucatan as the storm made landfall. Between 3 and 6 inches of rain was expected, with some areas anticipating up to 12 inches.

A hurricane watch was in effect in Mexico from Puerto de Veracruz to Rio Panuco.

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for the coast of Mexico from Rio Lagartos to Sabancuy and from Puerto de Veracruz to Rio Panuco.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the coast of Mexico from Sabancuy to Puerto de Veracruz.

Flash flooding is a concern from Chetumal to Sabancuy, and the Belize coast from Belize City northward to the border with Mexico. Rip currents and coastal flooding are also expected.

As the storm proceeds northwestward, it will again encounter water in the Bay of Campeche later Monday and could make landfall again by Thursday morning in eastern Mexico.

Forecasters say passing over the warm water will likely accelerate the storm. It’s expected to be a Category 1 hurricane when it hits the Mexican coast again, between Tampico and Veracruz, the National Hurricane Center projected.

The NHC added that water levels on the eastern Yucatan coast could rise 2 feet above normal tide levels on Tuesday.

A high pressure system north of the affected region will likely keep the impact of the storm away from the United States.

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