VERACRUZ, Mexico — The first tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season gained force as it headed for Mexico’s central gulf coast yesterday, bringing a threat of floods and mudslides.
Tropical Storm Arlene could hit land north of the coastal city of Tuxpan early today a little short of hurricane force, according to the US National Hurricane Center in Miami. Officials in the states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, and San Luis Potosi said they were preparing for possible flooding.
The state oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, said it would consider whether to evacuate its oil platforms. Rain was falling along the coast ahead of the storm, and officials warned residents about impending winds and rain. Officials said 6 inches of rain were possible in northern Veracruz state.
If heavy rains hit the state of Tamaulipas, they would fall on soil dried out by the most severe drought to hit the area in 50 years. There was still unrepaired damage from Hurricane Alex, which struck the area as a Category 2 hurricane last year.