Weather

Hurricane Franklin moves toward Mexican Gulf Coast as first of season

Franklin has become the first Atlantic hurricane of the season.

Franklin was upgraded to a hurricane by the National Hurricane Center in Miami late Wednesday afternoon as the storm moved toward Mexico’s Gulf Coast.

Franklin has maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, and the storm is roughly 105 miles northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, and continues to move west at 12 mph.

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A hurricane warning is in effect for Mexico’s coast, from Puerto de Veracruz to Cabo Rojo, and a hurricane watch also extends north of Cabo Rojo to Rio Panuco.

Forecasters believe the hurricane will continue to strengthen until it makes landfall in Veracruz late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Forecasters also believe that storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 4 to 6 feet above normal tide levels along the coast. The mountains of central Mexico could see flash floods and mudslides. Four to eight inches of rain is possible, while some areas could see up to 15 inches of rain.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) updated hurricane season forecast predicts 14 to 19 storms, with five to nine hurricanes, noting the Atlantic hurricane season shows no signs of slowing down.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.