BREAKING Mexico

Hurricane Grace plunged Mexico into torrential rains on Saturday, killing at least eight people in devastating floods and landslides after it became the strongest storm of the year to hit the country’s Gulf coast

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Grace, a Category 3 hurricane on a 5-step Sapphire-Simpson scale at a maximum of 125 miles per hour (201 km per hour), hit the coast near the resort of Tecolutler in the state of Veracruz.

The state government said eight people, including six from a single-family, were killed. The government says all but one of the victims in the state capital, Jalapa, have died, including a teenager who died in a collision at her home.

An adult was killed when a roof collapsed in the town of Poza Rica, further north in the state, Veracruz Governor Kutlahuac Garcia told a news conference.

He added that the state of emergency was not over.

Local television showed horrific flooding in Jalapa, where the coffins of local businesses were floating on the waterlogged streets. State authorities said the nearby river Octopus broke its banks and closed a local highway.

Erica Herrera, a housewife from Tecolutla, broke down in tears as she described the devastation.

“It’s not the dimensions that destroy everything,” he said. “It’s really sad. Things are really bad.”

Local authorities said Grace smashed windows, broken trees, electric wires and telegraph poles, with debris scattered around Teklutler, although there were no casualties.
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Garcia said several rivers in Veracruz would be flooded and called on local people to take cover.

Television footage also showed flooding in Ciudad Madero, on the southern edge of the state of Tamaulipas, near the Veracruz border. Mexican state oil firm Petrolios Mexicanos (Pemex) at the Francisco Madero refinery in Ciudad Madero.

Mexico City International Airport said some flights were cancelled due to the hurricane. The Commission Federal de Electricidad (CFE) National Power Utility reported that 565,000 power users were affected by the power outage.

Grace quickly weakens as it moves into the interior of the mountains and by the afternoon it spreads with winds of 25 miles (35 kilometers) in central Mexico. The center was about 65 miles (105 km) west-northwest of Mexico City, according to the Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Before Grace hit the ground, President Andres Manuel Lopez urged people from the states of Obrador Veracruz, Puebla, San Luis Potosi, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo to go to higher ground or shelters.

Many seem to have heeded this call.

The NHC forecasts Grace to receive 6 to 12 inches (15-30 cm) of rain in eastern and central Mexico until Sunday and up to 18 inches (45 cm) in some areas. It said heavy rains would likely cause storms and urban floods.

Veracruz and its waters include several oil installations, including the port of Pemex in Cotswolds and the Lazaro Cardinas refinery in Minatitlan to the south. Grace hit the ground well north of these cities.

Earlier in the week, Grace hit the Caribbean coast of Mexico, uprooted trees and cut off electricity to about 20,000 people, but did not cause any casualties.

It also submerged Jamaica and Haiti, still receiving torrential rains from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake.