Katia Downgraded to a Tropical Depression; Weakens as it Hits Mexico

Satellite photo showing the position of Hurricane Katia as of Friday morning
Photo by the National Hurricane Center

Katia has officially been downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression, as winds speeds fell to 35 mph on Saturday morning.

The Washington Post reports that the storm, which was originally a category 2 hurricane, weakened on Friday night as it made landfall on the east coast of Mexico, going from wind speeds of 105 mph on Friday morning down to 75 mph once it hit land at 11 p.m.

On Saturday, wind speeds dropped down to 35 mph, dipping below the official categorization of a tropical storm- 39 mph to 73 mph- into the category of a tropical depression- wind speeds less than 39 mph.

In a public advisory released on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said the storm is expected to produce at least 3 to 6 inches of additional rainfall in the coming days near Veracruz, Hidalgo, and Puebla, which will result in dangerous mud-slides and flash floods in the area.

Luis Felipe Puente, the national civil defense chief of Mexico, told Reuters that a mudslide caused by Katia has claimed the lives of two people in Veracruz, which trapped the two victims in their homes. So far, these are the only deaths attributed to the storm.

As Katia continues to hit Mexico with rain, the country is still trying to recover from the devastating magnitude 8.1 earthquake that struck several states on Thursday night, hitting Oaxaca the hardest.

The Chicago Tribune reports that as of Monday the death toll of the earthquake has now reached 90 people as aftershocks continue to damage infrastructure and leave people without food, shelter, and electricity.

As the Mexican government prepares to deal with both issues simultaneously, Katia will continue to dissipate as it moves southwest, though the threat of more rainfall is still present.

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