Storms kill at least 21 in Mexico

Tropical Depression Manuel and Hurricane Ingrid cause landslides and flooding, forcing thousands to evacuate

People carry their belongings as they evacuate from a flooded neighborhood in Acapulco on Sunday.
Jacobo Garcia/Reuters

Flooding and landslides unleashed by Hurricane Ingrid and Tropical Depression Manuel claimed at least 21 lives in Mexico and sparked the evacuation of thousands of people, forcing some towns to cancel national Independence Day celebrations scheduled for Monday. 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Manuel, which was downgraded from a tropical storm, began to weaken as it made landfall near the port of Manzanillo, 416 miles up the coast from Acapulco. While Manuel remains a threat to produce flash floods and mudslides, it is expected to dissipate Monday. 

Among those killed, rains unleashed by Manuel in the southern state of Guerrero resulted in the deaths of six people when their SUV lost control on a highway headed for Acapulco. Another five people died in landslides in Guerrero and Puebla states, while the collapse of a fence killed another person in Acapulco.

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

Thousands on the country's Gulf Coast also sought shelter from Ingrid -- which the National Hurricane Center in Miami said had maximum sustained winds of 75 m.p.h. late Sunday and was centered about 110 miles northeast of the port city Tampico -- amid the threat of heavy rains, dangerous flash floods and mudslides. Ingrid was also expected to dump heavy rains. A hurricane warning was in effect from Cabo Rojo to La Pesca.

More than 1,000 homes in Veracruz state had been affected by the storm to varying degrees, and 20 highways and 12 bridges had been damaged, 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, thirteen people died when a landslide buried their homes in heavy rains spawned by Tropical Depression Fernand.

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

Al Jazeera and wire services 

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