Mexico

Kenna makes landfall, pounds Mexico's coast

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Mexico City (dpa) - Hurricane Kenna made landfall midday Friday buffeting the Mexican mainland with sustained winds of 185 kilometres per hour and continued inland after uprooting trees, knocking down lampposts and flooding seaside cities and villages.

The Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center said Kenna, a category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, touched land near to San Blas, Nayarit state.

The eye of the storm was located about 65 kilometres north-northwest of Tepic, Nayarit, and it was moving towards the northeast at 32 kilometres per hour. It was expected to keep on shifting over the mountains of central Mexico.

Earlier Friday, television images from the seaside resort of Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco state, showed water reaching above the waist of panic-stricken residents and lifting up vans and cars. The ocean surges pushed water inland up to 100 metres, flooding hotels and other waterfront areas.

Trees billowed in the wind and overcast skies unleashed downpours in Vallarta, which is located 700 kilometres northwest of Mexico City.

Mexico had moved tens of thousands of people to safety as Kenna approached the mainland.

Authorities evacuated residents from Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa states, fearing Kenna could wreak damage similar to that caused by Isidore a month ago on the other side of the country.

Mexican authorities also evacuated 3,000 people from the Islas Marias islands, off the coast of Nayarit, directly in the path of Kenna.

Security measures were taken in Los Cabos, on the tip of the Baja California peninsula, where a meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was ongoing, and heads of state from about 20 countries were expected to gather Saturday.

The Mexican government had said earlier that should Kenna head directly towards Los Cabos, an alternative site for the summit was ready.

But it appeared that since Kenna had made landfall on the Mexican mainland, that while Baja California Sur would experience ocean surges, rains and winds, it would not likely be severe enough to affect the site of the APEC meeting.

dpa am pr

Copyright (c) 2002 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 10/25/2002 14:43:26

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