Mexico prepares as Tropical Storm Franklin aims at Yucatan

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities prepared shelters, cleared storm drains and announced the closing of an airport near the Caribbean coast Monday in anticipation of Tropical Storm Franklin’s arrival at the Yucatan Peninsula.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Franklin had top sustained winds of 60 mph (95 kph) at midafternoon in the northwestern Caribbean. It was moving west-northwest at 13 mph (20 kph) and was centered about 155 miles (255 kilometers) east of Chetumal, capital of Quintana Roo state.

The Quintana Roo state government said in a statement that the Chetumal airport near the border with Belize would close at 6 p.m. Shelters were being readied in the area, with one specifically designated for the residents of Mahahual, a popular beach destination.

Franklin was expected to make landfall Monday evening, possibly near hurricane strength, then cross over the peninsula into the Gulf of Campeche by Tuesday on a path toward central Mexico.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the coast of Mexico from Chetumal to Punta Allen. Tropical storm-force winds extended up to 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the center.

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