Mexican authorities rushed preparations ahead of likely life-threatening conditions when Hurricane Ingrid is set to make landfall Monday.
At 0300 GMT, the second hurricane of the 2013 season was packing top winds of 85 miles (138 kilometers) per hour as it headed north-northwest at seven miles per hour, the US National Hurricane Center said.
The hurricane was located about 185 miles east of Tampico, off Mexico's Gulf Coast, with the NHC noting that the Mexican government had issued a hurricane watch from north of La Pesca to Bahia Algodone.
A hurricane warning was also in effect from Cab Rojo to La Pesca, meaning that hurricane conditions where expected in that area within 36 hours.
"Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion," the NHC said.
Ingrid was expected to strengthen further before making landfall as it makes a turn toward the northwest by early Sunday followed by a shift toward the West by early Monday.
Forecasters said Ingrid would likely dump 10 to 15 inches (25-38 centimeters) of rain over a large swathe of eastern Mexico, though some mountainous areas could experience up to 25 inches of rainfall.
"These rains are likely to result in life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the NHC bulletin said, with a dangerous storm surge capable of raising water levels as much as five feet (1.5 meters) above normal with large and destructive waves along the coast.
Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex said late Thursday that it had preemptively suspended "sea and air operations" in the area, although rigs in the region continued to operate.
Heavy rain lashed Veracruz this week, killing 14 people, including 13 who died when a landslide crushed their homes in a mountainous region of the Gulf Coast state.
Mexico's National Weather Service said torrential rains were expected in the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Tabasco, Veracruz and Oaxaca.
Tropical Storm Manuel, also carrying life-threatening flash floods, should be a hurricane when it makes landfall on Sunday near the southwestern Mexican coast, according to the NHC.
Manuel was moving northward at six miles per hour, packing maximum winds of 70 miles per hour. It was located about 55 miles south of Lazaro Cardenas, in Michoacan state.
(c) 2013 Muscat Press and Publishing House SAOC Provided by Syndigate.info an Albawaba.com company
Original headline: Hurricane Ingrid barrels toward Mexico: US forecasters
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