MEXICO CITY – Hurricane Carlotta left two children dead in Mexico before weakening Saturday to a tropical depression over the mountains of the southern state of Guerrero, officials said.
In a bulletin issued at 10:00 a.m., the National Meteorological Service, or SMN, said that Carlotta continues to weaken and is expected to continue moving toward northwestern Guerrero, “gradually losing force over the next few hours.”
The update indicates that the weather system, whose danger rating was earlier in the day downgraded from strong to moderate, is moving west-northwest at 19 kilometers (12 miles) per hour. The alert zone extends from Punta Maldonado in the southern state of Oaxaca to Acapulco, Guerrero.
The SMN said the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers (34 miles) per hour with gusts of up to 65 kilometers (40 miles) per hour. Its outer bands, partially covering Jalisco, Colima, Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Mexico state, Mexico City and Morelos, have unleashed heavy rains and electrical storms.
It recommended taking extreme precautions against flooding and mudslides, chiefly in Guerrero and Michoacan states.
Carlotta became a Category 1 hurricane on Friday and strengthened to a Category 2, but weakened in the night to a Category 1 upon making landfall before being downgraded Saturday morning to a tropical storm and later to a tropical depression.
The mayor of Pluma Hidalgo in Oaxaca state confirmed Friday night the death of Roselia Jose Franco, 12, and Marisol Franco Ruiz, 7, who were killed when a mudslide fell on their home.
Meanwhile the victims’ mother, Apolinia Franco, was injured and has been hospitalized in serious condition.
On his Twitter account, the mayor said the municipality suffered significant damages in the storm. “Country roads are completely cut off and 60 percent of homes have been partially or totally destroyed,” the official said, and asked the army and navy to come to the aid of the municipality.
At the same time in the municipalities of Huatulco, Puerto Angel, Juchitan, Salina Cruz and Pochutla, among others, citizens have reported flooding, toppled trees and damage to telecommunications networks and power lines.
In Putla Villa, Guerrero state, emergency management officials reported 18 missing persons.
The Oaxaca government also reported damage to several state highways.
For the current hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean, which began May 15 and ends Nov. 30, the SMN has forecast the formation of 13 hurricanes.
The first of the season was Bud, which began on May 24 and at its strongest became a Category 3 on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale but caused little damage.