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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Tropical Storm Chris makes landfall in eastern Mexico

By John Keefe

Tropical Storm Chris made landfall on the eastern coast of Mexico late Sunday and weakened to a tropical depression hours later, the National Hurricane Center of the United States said.

The center of the storm made landfall in the state of Veracruz, the Hurricane Center said, just before midnight local time. Chris was the third named storm in an already active Atlantic hurricane season.

Hurricane Beryl was also moving west toward the Caribbean as a dangerous Category 4 hurricane early Monday. That prompted emergency preparations over the weekend across the Windward Islands, southeast of Puerto Rico and north of Venezuela.

Chris’s maximum sustained winds at landfall were around 40 mph, more than 30 mph below hurricane strength, according to the National Hurricane Center. A tropical storm warning was in effect on Sunday for part of Mexico’s eastern coast.

By 5 a.m. Eastern time, the storm’s winds had weakened to 35 mph, and Mexico had discontinued its tropical storm warning. But forecasters warned the storm could bring 4 to 8 inches of rain across portions of eastern Mexico through Monday morning, and more across higher terrain, bringing the threats of flooding and mudslides.

Alberto, the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall in eastern Mexico on June 20. Alberto unleashed heavy rain, flooding and gusty winds. Authorities said that at least four people died in events related to that storm.

This hurricane season was expected to be busy.

Forecasters have warned that the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season could be much more active than usual.

In late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 17 to 25 named storms this year, an “above-normal” number and a prediction in line with more than a dozen forecasts earlier in the year from experts at universities, private companies and government agencies. Hurricane seasons produce 14 named storms, on average.

The seasonal hurricane outlooks were notably aggressive because forecasters looking at the start of the season saw a combination of circumstances that didn’t exist in records dating to the mid-1800s: record warm water temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and the potential formation of the weather pattern known as La Nina.

La Nina occurs in the Pacific because of changing ocean temperatures, and it affects weather patterns globally. When it is strong, it typically provides a calm environment in the Atlantic; this allows storms to develop more easily and to strengthen without interference from wind patterns that might otherwise keep them from organizing.

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