Monday, June 24, 2024

Tornado in Toluca leaves 2 dead, one of them a US citizen

One day after strong winds caused a deadly stage collapse in the northern state of Nuevo León, a tornado swept through Toluca in México state and killed two people, including a United States citizen.

The Thursday afternoon “non-supercell” tornado in the México state capital of Toluca knocked over a fence that fell on top of two pedestrians and killed them. The fence also crushed a vehicle near pedestrians but the driver survived.

The twister, which was accompanied by intense rain and hail, also felled at least 30 large trees, many of them in medians of the Toluca-Palmillas highway.

Images circulating on social media showed how the tornado lifted tin roofs from homes and businesses, and tossed rooftop water and gas tanks to and fro. It knocked down telephone and light poles, and damaged many homes and vehicles. In one area, a warehouse collapsed.

The Toluca city council confirmed that one of the tornado victims was of American origin and said it was in communication with personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. As of noon Friday, the victim’s identity had not been released.

One day earlier in the metropolitan area of Monterrey, Nuevo León, a stage at a rally for dark-horse presidential candidate Jorge Álvarez Máynez collapsed due to strong winds, killing at least nine people and injuring scores of others, state authorities said.

Photos and videos of the funnel cloud were posted to social media on Thursday.

 

The phenomenon in Toluca was a funnel cloud and electrical storm, with surface winds of approximately 100 km/h, according to officials with the meteorological observatory of the Autonomous University of México State.

According to SkyAlert, the funnel reached a maximum height of 150 meters and was classified as a non-supercell tornado — meaning it was thinner, of shorter duration and didn’t pack as much power and wind intensity as a supercell tornado.

Continuing strong winds predicted for central Mexico

More strong winds in México state — with gusts up to 50 to 70 km/h — and potential whirlwinds and/or dust storms have been predicted for Friday and Saturday by Mexico’s National Meteorological Service. The agency is also predicting heavy rains in the area.

Zooming out, at the national level the agency forecasts wind gusts up to 40-70 km/h and possible whirlwinds for all 31 states in the country, along with Mexico City.

According to Mexico’s National Disaster Prevention Center, tornadoes occur in certain parts of the country, mainly between March and August and mainly in the north.

In May 2015, a tornado touched down in the northern border city of Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, and killed at least 13 people.

More recently, in November 2023, there was a tornado in western Michoacán that wreaked havoc on several avocado groves but didn’t claim any lives. Residents reportedly “attacked” the tornado with hail cannons to prevent it from reaching the town of Peribán.

With reports from El Financiero, La Silla Rota, El Debate and López-Dóriga Digital

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