MEXICO CITY (AFP) – Tropical Storm Ingrid formed off Mexico's eastern coast on Friday, threatening to trigger floods and landslides in mountain regions, forecasters said.
Ingrid was producing maximum sustained winds of 75 kilometers per hour (45 miles per hour) as it churned over the Gulf of Mexico, some 95 kilometers (60 miles) east of the port of Veracruz, according to the US National Hurricane Center's 1500 GMT bulletin.
The storm was moving west at four kilometers per hour (two miles per hour) and was expected to move very close to the Mexican coast in the next couple of days, the Miami-based center said.
Ingrid is expected to dump 10 to 15 inches of rain on a large part of eastern Mexico and more in mountainous areas.
"These rains are likely to result in life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," the center said.
State 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 has lashed Veracruz this week, killing 14 people, including 13 people 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. Several other states were expected to get soaked too.