Franklin strengthens to hurricane in Mexico: NHC

Cancún (Mexico) (AFP) –


Tropical storm Franklin strengthened to a category-one hurricane as it raged towards Mexico for a second assault on Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Center said.

The NHC said in a report that Franklin was over the Gulf of Mexico 170 kilometers (105 miles) from the major port city of Veracruz.

Franklin struck Mexico's eastern Yucatan peninsula on Monday and was expected to make landfall again in the province of Veracruz late on Wednesday or early Thursday.

The second landfall "will be much stronger than the first one," churning up waves up to five meters high, said Alberto Hernandez, an official with Mexico's National Meteorological Service.

Mexican soldiers and sailors have been deployed to carry out preventive evacuations along the coast and the mountains of the state of Puebla, where authorities fear that heavy rain could cause deadly landslides.

Mexico's long eastern coastline is often struck by storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.

In September 2013 Mexico was struck almost simultaneously by hurricanes Ingrid in the east and Manuel in the west, leaving some 157 dead in the southern state of Guerrero.