MEXICO CITY (AP) – Tropical Storm Karl weakened into a tropical depression as it approached Mexico’s southern Gulf coast, although forecasters said the heavy rains could still cause problems on the easily flooded portion of the coast.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm would approach land on Saturday and would likely dissipate by early Sunday. It swung slowly Friday, fishing away from what had been an expected evening landing.
Karl had maximum sustained winds of 55 mph (55 kph) at the end of Friday. It was centered about 75 miles (125 kilometers) west-northwest of Ciudad del Carmen and was moving south at 3 mph (6 kph).
The coastal towns of Coatzacoalcos and Paraiso are near the storm’s expected path.
“The predicted rain could cause mudslides, rising water levels in rivers and streams and flooding in low-lying areas,” Mexico’s National Water Commission said in a statement.
The U.S. Hurricane Center said Karl could drop 2 to 5 inches (5 to 13 centimeters) of rain in parts of the states of Veracruz and Tabasco as well as the northern states of Chiapas and Oaxaca until Sunday morning. It said as much as 20 inches (20 centimeters) could fall in isolated spots.
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