Tropical Storm Franklin could reach hurricane strength before it slams into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, dumping a massive amount of rain and pushing a dangerous storm surge into the coast late Monday or early Tuesday.
Up to a foot of drenching rainfall is possible, with the potential for life-threatening flash floods, the National Hurricane Center warned. A storm surge of up to four feet — accompanied by large, destructive waves — is also possible as the storm slams into the shoreline.
Areas at risk include the tourist resorts of Cancún, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel. In the higher terrain of Central America, the system could trigger mudslides, AccuWeather meteorologist Eric Leister said.
As of 11 a.m. ET, Franklin had sustained winds of 60 mph and was located 205 miles east of Belize City, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph.
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for most of the Yucatan Peninsula. A hurricane watch is also in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan, due to the chance the storm might strengthen before landfall.
After crossing the peninsula, Franklin could re-intensify into a hurricane to deliver another blow to Mexico's east coast later this week.
The United States should not be directly affected by this system, although parts of the Texas Gulf Coast could see high surf and dangerous rip currents later this week, the Weather Channel said.
Franklin is the sixth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. So far, all of the storms have only reached tropical storm strength.
A separate tropical system, now spinning in the central Atlantic more than 1,000 miles from the Caribbean, has a 20% chance of developing into a named storm over the next five days, the hurricane center said.
That system may bring rain and wind to the islands of the eastern Caribbean later this week, but it's too soon to forecast beyond that, the Weather Channel said.
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