Hurricane Karl slams Mexican Gulf coast
Hurricane Karl smashed into Mexico's Gulf Coast on Friday, creating havoc in the major port city of
Veracruz and forcing the country to shut down its only nuclear power plant and its central Gulf Coast oil platforms.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Karl's eye hit about 10 miles northwest of Veracruz at about 11:30 a.m. with sustained winds of 115 mph.
Veracruz civil protection chief Isidro Cano Luna said the storm already had caused widespread damage, knocking down trees, billboards and power poles.
He said there had not been a storm like it since Hurricane Janet hit in September 1955.
Karl's winds were down to 110 mph by early afternoon as it began to march toward the west.
While it is expected to steadily weaken as it moves inland, it was still likely to be at hurricane force when it reaches the state capital of Jalapa, 60 miles from the coast, said that city's Mayor David Velasco Chedraui.
It was projected to slog across central Mexico, drenching Mexico City, after dumping heavy rain into the mountainous, flood-prone region of Veracruz where a storm killed more than 300 people in
1999, most in landslides.