MEXICO CITY – Tropical Storm Nate made landfall Sunday near Tecolutla, a town in the eastern state of Veracruz, and moved inland, emergency management officials and the Mexican National Weather Service said.
The system is expected to weaken as it moves over land, the weather service said in its 11:00 a.m. bulletin.
Nate is moving west at 15 kph (9.3 mph) and has winds of 75 kph (46 mph), with gusts of 85 kph (53 mph), the weather service said.
Coastal residents should take measures to deal with “a rise in the levels of rivers and streams, possible mudslides in valleys and mountain areas, as well as flooding in low-lying areas,” the weather service said.
The northern and southern sections of Veracruz are under a state of alert, the national emergency management office said.
About 2,000 shelters have been opened in Veracruz and some 100 people have already moved into the facilities, officials said.
Nate is expected to weaken and become a tropical depression over the next few hours, dumping rain across a broad swath of central Mexico, the weather service said.
The storm may affect Puebla, Hidalgo, Tlaxcala, Tamaulipas, Oaxaca and Chiapas states, officials said.
Heavy rains are also expected in the Valley of Mexico, where the capital is located.
The navy has been searching for two days for the crew of the Trinity II, a semisubmersible platform that sustained structural damage last Thursday in the Sound of Campeche.
The 10 employees of Houston-based Geokenetics Inc., which provides services to Mexican state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, went missing Thursday afternoon while they were being evacuated from the Gulf of Mexico platform ahead of the storm.
The navy is conducting an air, land and sea search for the missing workers, some of whom are foreigners.
Pemex activated its Emergency Response Plan for Hurricanes on Friday, covering both its land facilities and drilling platforms off the coasts of Veracruz and Tamaulipas.
The oil company evacuated 473 workers from the Bicentenario, Centenario, Max Smith, Roy Butler and Super Sundowner platforms.
Mexican forecasters expect the 2011 hurricane season to produce 17 tropical systems in both the Pacific and Atlantic, of which 14 could affect Mexico as tropical depressions, tropical storms or hurricanes.