TS Franklin Headed to Yucatan

TS Franklin Headed to Yucatan

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The leading edge of Tropical Storm Franklin began moving onto Mexico's Yucatan, and the storm was expected to pass over the peninsula during the night before entering the Bay of Campeche on a path toward central Mexico.

Mexican authorities spent Monday setting up shelters, clearing storm drains and evacuating low-lying areas on the Caribbean coast Monday.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Franklin's top sustained winds had decreased to near 50 mph (80 kph) early Tuesday and predicted it would continue weakening while moving over the peninsula. Its center was about 55 miles (86 kilometers) north-northwest of Chetumal, Mexico.

The Quintana Roo state government moved people from the most vulnerable coastal communities, Adrian Martinez, coordinator for the state's Civil Protection agency, told Milenio television.

Shelters were prepared across the area, with one specifically designated for the residents of Mahahual, a popular beach destination. Officials had urged all businesses and gas stations to close early to help clear the streets. The state government said the Chetumal airport near the border with Belize would close for the night.

A tropical storm warning was posted from Belize City north to the Mexican border and around the whole Yucatan. Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the center.