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Hurricane Dean Hits Mexico for Second Time


Hurricane Dean made landfall in Mexico again, battering the nation's central coast with winds of 160 kilometers per hour. In Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports that forecasters are warning of possible flooding and mudslides.

Hurricane Dean came ashore near the Mexican city of Veracruz and quickly began weakening as it moved west over the central part of the country.

Mexican officials said they had evacuated thousands of residents from coastal areas to schools, churches and other buildings that would offer protection against strong winds and possible flooding.

Dennis Feltgen, forecaster for the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said residents across the area should watch for rainfall of 12 to 25 centimeters in the next day or so.

"With maximum amounts of up to 20 inches [50 centimeters]," he said. "Those kinds of rain can cause life-threatening flashfloods and debris slides."

The hurricane, moving west, first hit the Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday, before moving out over the Bay of Campeche.

Early Wednesday, Dean moved through a key oil field in the southern Gulf of Mexico, where Mexican oil companies were forced to evacuate crews and shut down at least 100 oil rigs. The shutdown meant a loss of 2.7 million barrels of oil in daily production for Mexican companies, which are a key supplier to the United States.

After crossing the bay, the hurricane then made landfall over central Mexico.

Mexican officials have reported no casualties so far from Hurricane Dean, after the eye of the storm crossed the Yucatan peninsula. At least 12 people were killed earlier by the storm when it hit Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Haiti and the island of Dominica.

The U.S. Agency for International Development said it has officials in Jamaica, Mexico and Belize to help coordinate emergency operations with local governments. A top USAID official said Tuesday that $125,000 was provided to Jamaica for emergency needs, and the Pan-American Health Organization is to receive $150,000 for aid efforts.

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