(CNN) – Hurricane Grace made landfall just before 1 a.m. CDT, south of Tuxpan, Mexico, near Tecolutla, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Grace had winds of 201 km / h when making landfall, making it a strong Category 3 cyclone on the Saffir Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Strong winds will continue to hit the region during the morning hours. Heavy rains, with isolated amounts over 30cm, will bring the risk of flash floods and landslides over the weekend.
The storm should weaken quickly after moving inland over the mountains of central Mexico.
The government of Mexico issues an emergency declaration in the municipalities of the state of Veracruz before Grace makes landfall
Mexico’s civil protection authority in the state of Veracruz issued an emergency declaration for 22 municipalities ahead of Hurricane Grace, according to a statement released Friday night.
The statement was issued due to the “imminent impact” of Hurricane Grace and strong winds between August 20 and 21, authorities said.
Based on this declaration, requested by the state government, the authorities will have access to resources to provide food, shelter and medical care to the affected population.
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Friday that he was in communication with the governor of Veracruz, Cuitláhuac García.
López Obrador said that 7,829 elements of Civil Protection, personnel from the Ministry of Defense, the Navy and the Federal Electricity Commission are waiting.
“I join the call to ask the people of Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to seek refuge in high places with relatives and in shelters that are being installed,” said López Obrador.
“Preparations to protect life and property must be completed quickly in hurricane warning areas,” said the National Hurricane Center. A hurricane warning is in effect for the coast of Mexico from Puerto Veracruz to Cabo Rojo. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Mexico from northern Cabo Rojo to Barra del Tordo.
A dangerous 1.2 to 1.8 meter storm surge is forecast along the immediate shoreline within the hurricane warning area near and north of where the center makes landfall tonight.
Grace already hit Mexico once before
When Grace first hit Mexico, it traversed the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday and weakened into a tropical storm, enduring 130km / h with higher gusts.
The east coast of Yucatán, including Cancun, Cozumel and Punta Herrero, were under a hurricane warning since Tuesday as Grace was organizing herself better as she moved westward, hitting Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Businesses prepared to make landfall and at least 125 tourists were evacuated from hotels to shelters, Quintana Roo state governor Carlos Joaquín González said Wednesday.
“In Tulum, hotels have been evacuated and tourists taken to different hotel shelters,” González said on Twitter.
In Quintana Roo work activities were suspended. Local leaders called on businesses to close temporarily and urged residents to stay at home or in shelters.
“The crossings from Cancun to Isla Mujeres were suspended; all ports are already closed to navigation. Waves of up to 4 meters high are expected,” González said.
Earlier this week, Grace also passed over Haiti, which was recovering from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that killed at least 1,941 people. About 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, were affected by the earthquake, according to Unicef.
CNN’s Michael Guy, Travis Caldwell, Taylor Ward, Mallika Kallingal, Madeline Holcombe and Judson Jones contributed to this report.
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