Hurricane Manuel continues its destruction in Mexico. The storm system, which had been classed as a tropical storm while it ravaged the Pacific Coast earlier this week, regained hurricane strength Wednesday in the warm waters of the gulf of California Wednesday and is traveling northwesterly toward Sinaloa.
Manuel has already caused flooding and landslides, with at least 80 confirmed dead and now 58 missing in La Pintada, a tiny village west of Acupulco, as announced by Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Thirty-five residents of the 400-person village were airlifted to safety by federal authorities, several of whom were injured in the slide.
“We are not sure for the moment how many people are trapped under the mud,” Pena Nieto said.
Governor Angel Aguirre Rivero of Guerrero says the 58 missing in La Pintada are presumed dead.
“It’s very likely that these 58 missing people lost their lives,” he told reporters.
Hurricane Manuel will weaken over land as it travels northwest through the state of Sinaloa, AccuWeather reports, but as with its earlier destruction, it poses the greatest threat to through floods and landslides. Manuel’s landfall will be the third direct hit for a country still feeling the effects of its previous damage and the destruction caused by Hurricane Ingrid.
“The last time the country experienced two phenomena of this nature at the same time, one in the Pacific and the other in the Gulf, was in the 1950s,” said Pena Nieto via transcripts provided to the media.
As if that wasn’t enough, the U.S. National Weather Service’s National Hurricane Center warned that a tropical depression could form in the Gulf of Mexico off the East coast, giving the low-pressure system a 70 percent chance of forming a tropical cyclone.
The latest report, coming at 8 a.m., states:
An area of low pressure located over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is producing disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity near the coast of the Bay of Campeche. Conditions still appear conducive for the formation of a tropical depression during the next day or two…And an air force reserve hurricane hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate the low this afternoon…If necessary. This system has a high chance…70 percent…Of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours while it moves west-northwestward to northwestward at 5 to 10 mph…And a high chance…80 percent…Of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 5 days. This disturbance will likely spread heavy rain over portions of eastern and southern mexico and could cause life-threatening floods and mudslides over areas already impacted by torrential rain during the past several days.