Hurricane Katia strengthens to Category 3


Katia came at a time Mexico was already dealing with a major disaster.

The state government now says 15 people died there due to Thursday night's magnitude 8.1 quake, in addition to 45 reported dead in Oaxaca and four in Tabasco.

It lost some strength before it landed about 115 miles (185 km) northwest of the port city of Veracruz as a Category 1 storm with sustained winds 75 mph (120 km/h).

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says that Tropical Storm Katia is starting to stall over Mexico's Sierra Madre mountains.

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The National Hurricane Center is warning that "this rainfall will likely cause life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, especially in areas of mountainous terrain".

As Katia reached the Mexican Gulf Coast, Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic storms in a century, walloped Cuba's northern coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Katia had winds of 105 miles per hour (165 kph) early Friday afternoon, with strengthening expected.

REUTERS/VICTOR YANEZA resident from Veracruz, Mexico prepares for the possible destruction that Hurricane Katia might bring when it makes a landfall in the country this weekend. It then was downgraded to a tropical storm and forecasters expect it to dissipate Saturday. A hurricane warning means that it's expected to hit about 12-24 hours, the NHC noted in its update.

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Across the country, Hurricane Katia was roaring onshore north of Tecolutla in Veracruz state, pelting the region with intense rains and winds.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Jose strengthened to Category 4, and hurricane watches were in effect for the northern Leeward Islands.

Many people remained in the streets, fearing aftershocks.

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