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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

3 dead in Mexico as tropical storm breaks up (AP)

MEXICO CITY – Mexican authorities confirmed three deaths from Tropical Storm Arlene on Friday as remnants of the storm continued dumping rain over the country's central highlands.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center warned that rain could continue for 48 hours causing life-threatening flash floods and mudslides as the system moved toward the Pacific.

The Atlantic season's first tropical storm came ashore over Mexico's central Gulf coast early Thursday morning, bringing heavy rains to a wide swath of the country over the course of the day but causing only sporadic damage.

In the coastal state of Tamaulipas, a 54-year-old man whose name was not available was electrocuted to death by a downed powerline and a fisherman drowned in the Vicente Guerrero dam, on the border with the United States, civil protection officials said.

Rescuers in helicopters flew water and food on Friday to the Tamaulipas township of Nuevo Tantoan, where 200 people were cut off by two rivers that swelled around them, said Pedro Benavides, the state's civil protection director.

They also reported that, further inland in Hidalgo state, 27-year-old Armando Acosta Monroy was pulled from his home after it collapsed from heavy rains, but died after being taken to a medical center. There were at least six landslides along a highway in that area.

Continuous rain fell in Mexico City and its metropolitan area, where the Remedios River, which carries sewage water, overflowed in the suburb of Ecatepec.

The mayor of Ecatepec, Indalecio Rios, asked residents in three flooded neighborhoods to move into government shelters, according to the newspaper El Universal.

But even coastal towns in Veracruz and Tamaulipas states appeared to have escaped serious damage beyond minor flooding in low-lying neighborhoods. Drought-stricken areas of Tamaulipas, suffering from the worst dry spell in 50 years, were mainly grateful for the rain.

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