Deadly storms kill 42 in Mexico

More than 23,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

Residents and tourists wade through a flooded street in Acapulco, Guerrero state, Mexico, after heavy rains hit the area on 16 September 2013. Picture: AFP

ACAPULCO, Mexico - Two powerful storms pummelled Mexico as they converged from the Pacific and the Gulf on Monday, killing at least 42 people and stranding some 40,000 tourists in the Pacific resort of Acapulco amid some of the worst flooding in decades.

Tropical Depression Ingrid battered Mexico's northern Gulf coast, shutting some of the country's oil operations, while the remnants of Tropical Storm Manuel lashed the Pacific coast, inundating the popular tourist hub.

Even as Ingrid and Manuel weakened, the storms continued to unleash massive rains that have killed at least 42 people in the states of Veracruz, Guerrero, Puebla, Hidalgo, Michoacan and Oaxaca, national emergency services said.

Landslides buried homes and a bus in the eastern state of Veracruz, while thousands were evacuated from flooded areas, some by helicopter, and taken to shelters.

Residents waded neck deep in brown muddy waters, while some wended down flooded streets in dinghies, pedal boats and on jet skis. Waters churned through streets, converting them into dangerous rapids that swept away cars.

State oil monopoly Pemex said it had evacuated three oil platforms and halted drilling at some wells on land due to the storms.

Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton told reporters that 40,000 tourists were stranded in the city.

The popular Princess Hotel's parking lots and golf course were under water, as was much of the city's plush Diamante district home to top-end hotels.

"Tomorrow is another day, and we will just have to check whether or not the highway re-opens," hotel worker Martila Flores said by telephone.

In the resort city alone, at least 21 people were killed as buildings collapsed and roads were transformed into raging rivers, said Constantino Gonzalez, an official with Guerrero state emergency services.

President Enrique Pena Nieto inspected the storm damage in Acapulco and other flooded parts of Guerrero state by air on Monday evening. "We have a plan to arrange for government funds to help," he told reporters.

HISTORIC DESTRUCTION

Interior Minister Miguel Osorio Chong called the flooding "historic" and said the city of Acapulco had sustained major damage.

In Veracruz state, along Mexico's Gulf coast, 12 people died on Monday after a bus and two nearby homes were buried by a mountain landslide near the town of Xaltepec, Governor Javier Duarte told reporters.

Across the state, 23,000 people were evacuated from their homes and 9,000 remained in emergency shelters, according to a post on Duarte's Twitter account.

Public school classes in Veracruz and Tamaulipas states were cancelled for Tuesday.

The Mexican government had discontinued all coastal warnings and watches by Monday afternoon.

FLOODING ACROSS THE BORDER

Search-and-rescue teams bolstered by National Guard troops fanned out across Colorado's flood-stricken landscape on Monday, as a week of torrential rains blamed for eight deaths and the destruction of at least 1,600 homes finally gave way to sunny skies.

Much of the evacuation effort was focused on remote foothill and canyon communities in north-central Colorado, where the bulk of nearly 12,000 people evacuated since last week were stranded due to washed-out roads, bridges and communication lines, state emergency officials said.

The flooding progressed downstream and spread onto the prairie through the weekend. The rain-gorged South Platte River continued to top its banks on Monday, submerging large tracts of farmland as flooding rolled eastward toward Nebraska.

Authorities said downstream flooding could be worsened by a river channel cluttered with overgrown vegetation and debris from several years of minimal flows along the South Platte.

State officials issued flood warnings to Nebraska residents urging them to shut off utilities and electrical machinery along the river.

Nearly 600 people remained unaccounted for in Larimer and Boulder counties combined, with many believed to be still stranded in remote areas cut off by floodwaters and left without telephone, cell phone or Internet service, officials said.

President Barack Obama declared the area a major disaster over the weekend, freeing up federal funds and resources to aid state and local governments.