Two powerful storms made landfall in Mexico on September 15 and 16, causing destructive flooding that has claimed lives and destroyed property. In the Pacific Basin, Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall on September 15 near Manzanillo, Mexico. In the Atlantic Basin, Ingrid struck near the town of La Pesca on September 16. This rare convergence of two tropical storms within such close proximity and time of each other has affected nearly two-thirds of the country, according to Mexico’s Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong. The storms have been blamed for more than 50 deaths in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan and Oaxaca. In the state of Veracruz, damage to bridges and highways, as well as nearly 1,000 homes, has been reported. Both storms are expected to cause heavy precipitation across most of the country over the next few days, leading to possible life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
In the Pacific Basin, Tropical Storm Manuel made landfall the afternoon of September 15 near Manzanillo on the Pacific Coast of Mexico (according to the National Hurricane Center). As of Sunday 5PM EDT (21 UTC/14 PDT), Manuel carried winds of 45 mph, and a pressure of 998 mb.
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As is common for landfalling tropical storms, the true destructive potential was in the form of excessive rainfall. Rainfall amounts were projected between 10-15 inches, with local amounts to 25 inches. States affected include Guerrero, Michaocan, Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit. Manuel was able to bring significant moisture into Central and Eastern Mexico to also feed Ingrid while approaching Mexico from the Atlantic Basin.
In the Atlantic Basin, Ingrid continued to pose an on-going threat of excessive rainfall well into the Mexico interior after landfall on September 16. Ingrid was downgraded to tropical storm status by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) as of 8AM EDT (12 UTC) September 16. Estimated landfall by the NHC was determined as sometime between 7AM EDT and 8AM EDT (11-12 UTC) near La Pesca, Mexico. As of the 8AM EDT NHC advisory, Ingrid was inland, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, and a pressure of 991 mb. Excessive rainfall amounts were expected to 10-15 inches, with isolated amounts to 25 inches over affected areas. This caused an inland threat of flash-flooding and mudslides, posing a significant threat to life and property. A storm surge of two to four feet was also expected. Ingrid was downgraded further to a Tropical Depression by the NHC as of 5PM EDT (21 UTC) on September 16.
More than 50 fatalities have been reported, the majority of which occurred in the popular tourist city of Acapulco, according to an official with the Guerrero state emergency services. More than 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes and nearly 40,000 tourists have been left stranded in the city of Acapulco.
Most property damage has been blamed on flooding caused by the excessive rainfall. Guerrero has been particularly hard hit, where streets have reportedly been turned into “rivers of mud” and President Enrique Pena Nieto has ordered a “house by house” census. In Acapulco, the airport was reportedly flooded and highways were blocked by landslides caused by water from Manuel. In the state of Veracruz, damage to bridges and highways, as well as nearly 1,000 homes, has been reported. Structural damage from wind is expected to be minimal due to the sparsely populated area in which Ingrid made landfall and the construction types of buildings in the area. According to AIR Worldwide, most insured residential and commercial properties are made of confined masonry or reinforced masonry, which fares better than plain masonry under lateral wind loads.
Sources: Agence France Presse, Reuters, Associated Press, AIR Worldwide, U.S. National Weather Service, U.S. Storm Prediction Center.
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