VERACRUZ, Mexico – Tropical Storm Barry formed off Mexico's Gulf Coast on Wednesday, prompting Mexican authorities to ready hundreds of shelters.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said the Atlantic hurricane season's second tropical storm was drenching areas in its path with up to 10 inches of rain in some places, raising the threat of flash floods.
In late afternoon, Barry was about 70 miles (113 kilometers) east of Veracruz, Mexico, and was expected to make landfall near that port city Thursday morning.
Veracruz state Civil Protection Secretary Noemi Guzman said 2,000 shelters had been readied in the state with mattresses, blankets, water and canned food. She said the shelters at schools and recreation centers could house up to 306,000 people.
The port of Veracruz was closed to small vessels because of the strong winds, Guzman said.
The storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (64 kph), just above the threshold of 39 mph (63 kph) for becoming a named storm. It formed as a depression off the coast of Belize on Monday and began moving north.
A tropical storm warning was in effect on the Mexican coast from Punta El Lagarto to Barra de Nautla.