NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico — Tropical Storm Hermine slammed into Mexico's northern gulf coast near the U.S. border late Monday with winds of 65 mph, threatening heavy rains that could cause flash flooding in Mexico and Texas.
Mexican authorities urged people to move to shelters while officials in Texas offered sandbags and warned of flash floods as Hermine neared. The storm was expected to cross the border in the coming hours after touching land about 40 miles south of Brownsville, Texas. It was expected to push northward up Texas today.
Hermine threatened to bring as much as a foot of rainfall to some areas battered by Hurricane Alex in June. Remnant rains from Alex killed at least 12 people in flooding in Mexico.
Hermine "will briefly be over Mexico, and then we're expecting it to produce very heavy rainfall over south Texas," said Eric Blake, a hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center. "We're expecting widespread rainfall totals of 4 to 8 inches with isolated amounts of a foot possible. Especially in the hilly and mountainous terrain, that could cause life-threatening flash flooding."
Mexican emergency officials urged those living in low-lying coastal areas to move to shelters, and authorities in Tamaulipas state began evacuating 3,500 people around Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville. Classes in Matamoros and several other Mexican towns were canceled, and authorities began releasing water from some dams to make room for expected rains.
"We urge the general population to be on alert for possible floods and mudslides," said Salvador Trevino, director of civil defense for Tamaulipas, where Matamoros is located.