Saturday, June 15, 2024

Evacuations in Colima and Jalisco in wake of Tropical Storm Hernán

Faced with the flooding of homes and roads due to Tropical Storm Hernán, now downgraded to a tropical depression, municipal governments of Cihuatlán and La Huerta in Jalisco and Manzanillo in Colima have installed shelters to evacuate residents at risk.

In Cihuatlán, the municipal government opened four shelters to house evacuees, Mayor Fernando Martínez Guerrero announced, and was preparing to declare a state of emergency Friday morning as clean-up begins.

The El Pedregal arroyo in Melaque overflowed its banks, causing heavy flooding, as did the Río Purificación. A sinkhole partially closed the Santa Cruz-Melaque highway and in Emilio Zapata the Cuixmala River breached its banks leading to the closing of Highway 200 in both directions. 

Mayor Martínez announced last night on social media that due to the volume of 911 emergency calls he was forced to set up a second telephone number for those needing immediate assistance.

In La Huerta, Hernán wreaked particular havoc in La Manzanilla where “half the town is practically flooded,” Mayor Ray Mendoza reported. “The rising stream collapsed the bridge that connects to the other side of the beach, which made a dam and this caused the water to rise to the center of La Manzanilla,” he said.

A mudslide blocked Highway 80 near the town of Lázaro Cárdenas, while in Mazatán water had risen to cover the bridge. Eight emergency shelters are currently operating and at least 185 people have been evacuated.

In Manzanillo, classrooms were welcoming evacuees and the mayor was considering opening a new shelter with a capacity of 300 if needed. Highways in the area have been closed due to landslides or flooding.

According to the National Water Commission, rains of more than 250 millimeters are expected in the two states as Hernán moves north. A storm surge of three to five meters is expected in coastal areas. 

Hernán was moving at 33 kilometers per hour which should put it over the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula near La Paz later today or this evening. Maximum sustained winds were clocked at 55 kilometers per hour with some higher gusts. Hernán is expected to weaken to a low pressure area tonight and dissipate by Sunday. 

Source: Reforma (sp)

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