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Rain Floods Gulf of Mexico States

October 4, 1999

VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico (AP) _ After weeks of torrential rains and flooding in Mexico’s eastern states, forecasters warned of more bad weather to come with a tropical depression that has formed over the Gulf of Campeche.

The season’s 11th tropical depression was nearly stationary, centered about 150 miles east of Veracruz city in Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The center said Mexico, already drenched after weeks of relentless downpours, could see another 10 to 15 inches of rain in its eastern and southeastern regions.

Five people have died in rain-related flooding in neighboring Tabasco and Veracruz states, and 13,400 families have had to flee their homes.

The Mexican army deployed troops along the Grijalva and Usumancita rivers in Tabasco to help refugees reach 600 shelters on higher ground. The two rivers reached their highest levels in 40 years on Sunday, the National Water Commission said.

Schools were closed indefinitely in 144 communities along the rivers. Transportation authorities said 16 ports along the eastern coast were closed to small vessels, while the port of Dos Bocas in Veracruz state was closed to large vessels as well.

Central American countries also have been hit hard by weeks of heavy storms and flooding. At least 36 people have been killed, and more than 100,000 were forced to evacuate.

In Nicaragua, though, rain subsided somewhat, allowing rescue workers to explore remote parts of the country for flood survivors.

Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman said rescue crews on Sunday reached the village of San Francisco del Carnicero, just north of Lake Nicaragua, where ``people had not eaten for up to four days.″

Since the rains started in early September, at least 15 people have drowned in Nicaragua. Another 21 have died in Honduras, 11 in El Salvador and six in Costa Rica.

In the northern Costa Rican province of Guanacaste, residents were allowed to return home on Monday, almost two weeks after they were evacuated.

Update hourly