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Heavy Rains Flood Central Mexico

June 20, 1998

ATOTONILCO DE TULA, Mexico (AP) _ While much of Mexico struggles with drought, heavy rain has forced hundreds of people to flee their homes in central and southern states.

In the Pacific coast resort of Acapulco, streets flooded and dozens of people were evacuated from their homes Friday after a downpour that reminded some residents of 1997′s Hurricane Pauline, a storm whose rains and flooding killed about 150 people there.

``We just hope that what happened with Pauline doesn’t occur again,″ Acapulco resident Pedro Zavala told the television network Televisa.

Flooding in Atotonilco, 40 miles north of downtown Mexico City, has forced the evacuation of about 200 people.

Floodwaters were three feet deep in Atotonilco, Hidalgo state Civil Defense Director Fernando Navarrete Zorrilla told the government’s Notimex news agency.

Television broadcasts showed mud-coated cars and trucks that had been swept down the streets by floodwaters.

In the southern state of Oaxaca, 100 houses were damaged Friday in Santiago Amoltepec and 49 families in Tuxtepec were forced to evacuate, Notimex reported.

Rain and hail also damaged more than 100 poorly constructed houses in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz, Notimex reported.

Meanwhile, in drought-stricken Torreon, 350 miles to the northwest, Roman Catholic Bishop Juan de Dios Caballero celebrated a Mass with appeals for rain. About 5,000 worshipers, including Coahuila Gov. Rogelio Montemayor, attended.

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