Weaker TS Franklin crosses Yucatan, aims for Mexico mainland

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — A weakened Tropical Storm Franklin emerged over the Bay of Campeche early Tuesday evening after crossing the Yucatan Peninsula on a path expected to produce a second landfall on Mexico's central Gulf coast later this week.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's center was 40 miles (60 kilometers) northwest of Campeche and was heading west-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).

Franklin's maximum sustained winds slowed to 40 mph (65 kph) after it came ashore on Yucatan's Caribbean coast overnight, but it was expected to strengthen again Wednesday while crossing the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico. It was predicted to move ashore a second time late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Mexico Civil Protection director Ricardo de la Cruz said at a news conference that the initial impact on Yucatan's Caribbean coast was not as bad as initially feared. Trees were down and power was out in some areas, he said.

"The second impact could even be stronger than the first," De la Cruz warned.

Franklin's rains posed the threat of flash floods and mudslides in the mountains of central Mexico.

Three to six inches (7.5 to 15 centimeters) of rain were forecast for Yucatan, with localized amounts of up to 12 inches (35 centimeters).

A hurricane watch was in effect for Mexico's coast from Veracruz to Rio Panuco. A tropical storm warning was posted from Rio Lagartos to Sabancuy and from Veracruz to Rio Panuco. Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the center.

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