Tropical Storm Raymond strengthened in the Pacific Ocean on Sunday as it powered toward Mexico’s storm-battered west coast. Raymond formed over the weekend and is expected to become a hurricane soon.
Mexico’s southern Pacific coast was devastated by rains and mudslides from Tropical Storm Manuel last month and more than 10,000 people are still evacuated from their homes.
The US National Hurricane Center believes that the massive storm will take a sharp westward turn before it reaches Mexico’s coast and head out to sea, reports USA Today.
Mexicans are pinning their hopes on a cold front from the north to turn the storm away from them, according to David Korenfeld, the head of the country’s National Weather Commission. Korenfeld added:
“The cold front coming down is what makes [Raymond] turn to the left, but that is a model. If that cold front comes down more slowly, this tropical storm… can get closer to the coast.”
NBC News notes that Tropical Storm Raymond will likely become a hurricane on Monday and Mexico issued a tropical storm watch from Acapulco to the port of Lazaro Cardenas in response. But the country hopes nothing bad comes from Raymond.
Manuel, along with Ingrid, converged from the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico in September to kill more than 150 people and cause the worst flooding in Mexico’s recorded history. The storms caused an estimated $6 billion in damage.
The National Hurricane Center predicted that Raymond will come close to Mexico on Monday or Tuesday, then begin to meander back to sea. Despite the predictions, the Mexican government announced it is still monitoring the storm closely and local authorities are prepared to evacuate people if needed.
While Mexico isn’t expecting a direct hit from the tropical storm, it still could see life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Up to six inches of rain could hit the center and south of the coastline, according to the country’s national meteorological service. In preparation, the state government in Guerrero, where Manuel and Ingrid caused the most damage, closed seaports and set up 700 emergency shelters.
The state urged residents in risk areas to take precautions and leave, in case the storm is worse than expected. Korenfeld stated that potential damage from the tropical storm’s rains could be enormous. While the storm isn’t as bad as last month, about 50 dams in the area are still over capacity from last month’s deluge. They are releasing water to make room for the rains, but that may not be enough.
Tropical Storm Raymond is expected to bring rain to the region for the next 72 hours.