Franklin weakens to tropical storm over Mexico

A man carries away plastic chairs as beachfront businesses strip down to their bare bones in preparation for the arrival of Tropical Storm Franklin, in Veracruz, Mexico. (Felix Marquez)

Franklin weakened to a tropical storm early Thursday morning as it moved inland after making landfall in Mexico as a hurricane.

Hurricane Franklin roared ashore on Mexico's central Gulf coast, threatening to pound a mountainous region prone to flash floods and mudslides with torrential rains and heavy winds.
RELATED: Franklin becomes first Atlantic hurricane of the season

Franklin strengthened into the first hurricane of the Atlantic season on Wednesday and its landfall as Category 1 storm early Thursday was its second on Mexican territory in three days. As a tropical storm, Franklin made a relatively mild run across the Yucatan Peninsula earlier in the week.

Authorities in Veracruz ordered classes canceled at public schools as a precautionary measure. Schools are frequently used as storm shelters in Mexico.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Franklin later weakened to a tropical storm Thursday morning with maximum sustained winds near 70 mph (113 kph). Additional weakening was forecast and Franklin was expected to dissipate by late Thursday or early Friday.

Franklin's center was about 75 miles (121 kilometers) south of Tuxpan, Mexico, and the storm was moving a little south of west near 15 mph (24 kph).

Mexico Civil Defense director Ricardo de la Cruz said Tuesday that the storm's impact on Yucatan was not as bad as initially feared, with some trees down and power out in some areas. But, he warned, "the second impact could even be stronger than the first."

Forecasters said Franklin could drop four to eight inches (10 to 20 centimeters) of rain, with localized amounts of up to 15 inches (38 centimeters).

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