The most recent forecast now shows that Grace will continue to strengthen today, hitting sustained winds of 168 kilometers per hour, which is a Category 2 force, later tonight. Hurricane Grace now has sustained winds of136 km/h with higher gusts.
The hurricane is located about 321 kilometers east of Tuxpan, Mexico, and is moving west at 22 km / h. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 297 kilometers.
“Preparations to protect life and property must be completed quickly in hurricane warning areas,” said the National Hurricane Center. A hurricane warning is in effect for the coast of Mexico from Puerto Veracruz to Cabo Rojo. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the coast of Mexico from northern Cabo Rojo to Barra del Tordo.
A dangerous 1.2 to 1.8-meter storm surge is forecast along the immediate shoreline within the hurricane warning area near and north of where the center makes landfall tonight.
Hurricane conditions are expected within parts of the hurricane warning area late tonight, and tropical storm conditions are expected this afternoon. Widespread rainfall of 152 to 304 millimeters is forecast, with isolated totals of up to 457 millimeters possible through Sunday. Grace’s heavy rains will result in areas of flash flooding and urban flooding, as well as landslides.
After Grace makes landfall, rapid weakening is expected as the hurricane moves inland over the mountains of central Mexico.
Grace already hit Mexico once before
When Grace hit Mexico for the first time, it crossed the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday and weakened into a tropical storm, enduring 130 km / h with higher gusts.
The east coast of Yucatán, including Cancun, Cozumel, and Punta Herrero, were under a hurricane warning since Tuesday as Grace was organizing herself better as she moved westward, hitting Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Businesses prepared to make landfall and at least 125 tourists were evacuated from hotels to shelters, Quintana Roo state governor Carlos Joaquín González said Wednesday.
“In Tulum, hotels have been evacuated and tourists taken to different hotel shelters,” González said on Twitter.
In Quintana Roo work activities were suspended. Local leaders called on businesses to temporarily close and urged residents to stay at home or in shelters.
“The crossings from Cancun to Isla Mujeres were suspended; all ports are already closed to navigation. Waves of up to 4 meters high are expected,” González said.
The SMN asked the population to take extreme precautions to the population located in the aforementioned areas, as well as to comply with the recommendations of the National Civil Protection System .
Cuitláhuac García, governor of Veracruz, reported on Thursday afternoon that he toured the area in which ” Grace ” could be affected. Since Thursday, the National Civil Protection Coordination activated the Early Warning System for Tropical Cyclones in the entity, placing it in “low danger” for the north and center and “very low” for the south.
The Center for Meteorological Studies and Forecasts of the Secretary of Civil Protection of Veracruz reported that the National Hurricane Center of the United States predicted that “ Grace ” will impact between Cabo Rojo and Veracruz, around midnight, possibly close to being a category 2 hurricane .