Sunday, July 21, 2024

Storms leave Guadalajara with flooding, outages and 183 downed trees

Guadalajara is digging itself out after intense storms that battered the city’s metropolitan area (ZMG) on Tuesday and Wednesday caused flooding in city streets, outages that continue to leave thousands without electricity, and the downing of over 180 trees. 

More heavy rains appear on the way as Jalisco residents awoke Thursday to the news that a small disturbance near the Jalisco and Colima coastlines “began to undergo tropical cyclogenesis, with models showing a potential tropical depression.” 

A worker in a helmet and yellow emergency personnel vest front of several downed trees on a urban street at night.
Authorities were busy through Wednesday night and Thursday morning working to remove over 180 downed trees in the city. (Civil Protection Jalisco/X)

Although Mexico’s attention is currently focused on its Caribbean and Gulf coasts to the east — where Hurricane Beryl is expected to make landfall as early as Friday — the nation’s western coast is now preparing for the season’s first tropical cyclone of the Pacific season.

The oncoming storm has been dubbed “Tropical Depression One-E” by the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Tuesday’s storm brought winds as strong as 100 km/h (61 mph) and caused flooding in Guadalajara’s tunnels and streets. Several vehicles were carried away by the roiling waters. 

Emergency personnel were out in force to rescue stranded motorists and to assist residents whose houses flooded as the rain continued through Wednesday afternoon. At least 50 homes in Guadalajara’s Villa Fontana neighborhood were reportedly filled with mud and water on Wednesday morning after the El Seco stormwater canal overflowed.

About 15,000 ZMG residents have also been without power since Tuesday’s storm, El Informador reported.

In other storm-related news, Civil Protection agents in Tlajomulco — about 34 kilometers south of Guadalajara and part of the ZMG — found the body of a man reported missing on June 27.

In the face of widespread power outages in the city on Tuesday, a woman in Zapopan took it upon herself to direct traffic at the intersection of Tepayac and Dr. Mateo del Regil avenues. Zapopan is part of the Guadalajara Metro Area.

The first fatality of the summer storm season, the 62-year-old man had fallen into a stormwater canal. Initial rescue efforts were unsuccessful. Emergency personnel recovered his body 133 hours after the fact. 

On Wednesday, state authorities also confirmed reports of another storm-related death — not in Guadalajara but about 55 km north of the capital, in San Cristobal de la Barranca. The newspaper La Jornada reported a 15-year-old boy had been swept into a gully during a rainstorm on Sunday.

Civil Protection personnel reminded the public to avoid trying to walk through rushing water and to avoid crossing canals, gullies and dams.

Tropical Depression One-E approaching Mexico’s Pacific states

According to the NHC, the Pacific cyclone will remain a tropical depression until Friday afternoon, continuing to produce rain and thunderstorms through Saturday.

Tropical Depression One-E is moving northeast toward the Colima coast at 15 km/hour with sustained winds of 55 km/h (34 mph) and gusts reaching 75 km/h (47 mph). The storm is producing waves of 1 to 3 meters in the Pacific and could produce waterspouts, said the NHC.

Its cloud bands are expected to produce severe storms in Jalisco, Colima and Michoacán, dumping 25 to 50 mm of rainwater. The NHC warned of lightning and thunderstorms and, potentially, hailstorms.

Authorities have warned residents to be on the lookout for landslides and additional flooding.

With reports from La Jornada and El Informador

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