Franklin expected to strengthen as it nears Yucatán

Tropical Storm Franklin Could Form This Week

Franklin's maximum sustained winds had decreased to 75 km/h, but it was expected to strengthen again Wednesday as it crossed the bay of Campeche.

"On the forecast track, the center of Franklin will be near the east coast of the Yucatan peninsula by this evening", the U.S. National Hurricane Center says.

Forecasters think Franklin will cross over the Yucatan Peninsula and emerge into the southern Gulf of Mexico by Wednesday.

In 2005, Hurricane Wilma hit the Riviera Maya as a Category Four storm and pummeled the area for 48 hours, with a toll of eight people killed and $10 billion in damages. Aside of coastal gusty winds, heavy mountain rain and mudslides will be the greatest threats posed by Tropical Storm Franklin. As the winds of the tropical storm affect the area located 220 km from its center, it is possible in the late afternoon for the effect of the passage to be felt in Belize. By very early Tuesday morning Franklin will be making landfall with the eastern shores of the Yucatan Peninsula for its first landfall.

Franklin is blowing maximum sustained winds of 60 miles per hour (97 kph), and the center of the storm is expected to make landfall late Monday night, cross the peninsula and then reach the Bay of Campeche late Tuesday on the other side, the Miami-based NHC said in an advisory.

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Although predicting the path of tropical storms can sometimes be challenging, there is little doubt that Franklin is on a crash course with the Yucatan.

The NHC added that water levels on the eastern Yucatan coast could rise two feet above normal tide levels on Tuesday.

The main eye of the storm has passed over the region and is continuing on toward the center of the country, west-northwest at 14 miles per hour.

The attention focused on the Atlantic came at the same time Colorado State University hurricane researchers issued an update to their forecast, saying they continue to predict an above-average Atlantic hurricane season.

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