Franklin Weakens to Tropical Storm After Making Landfall in Mexico

Lightning is on the horizon in Mexico City as then-Tropical Storm Franklin arrives in the state of Quintana Roo.

Franklin weakened to a tropical storm after it made landfall in eastern Mexico early Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said.

It hit the eastern coast as a hurricane, threatening to bring torrential rains and strong winds to a region prone to flash floods and mudslides.

A few hours later, the Atlantic season’s first hurricane was downgraded to a tropical storm, forecasters said.

Franklin strengthened Wednesday to become a Category 1 hurricane — with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph.

It was in the Bay of Campeche, in the far southern Gulf of Mexico, when it was classified as a hurricane Wednesday afternoon.

It will continue to move inland over the mountains of central Mexico, where torrential rains and strong winds will affect the population from the east coast toward Mexico City. The main threats going forward will be flash flooding and mudslides, the NHC advisory says.

While still a tropical storm on Monday night, Franklin made landfall on the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the center said. The storm battered Belize and the Yucatan Peninsula with heavy rain and strong winds.

Rainfall totals of up to 8 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 15 inches are possible in various Mexican states, including Tabasco, northern Veracruz and northern Puebla, according to the center.

“These rains will be capable of producing life-threatening flash floods and mudslides,” it said.

Forecasters said hurricane-force winds extended up to 35 miles from the center of the storm and tropical storm-force winds extended up to 150 miles.

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SOURCE: CNN, Jessica Suerth and Michael Guy