MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Tropical storm Franklin is expected to develop into a hurricane later on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, and is set to crash into eastern Mexico’s key oil-producing Gulf state of Veracruz as the Atlantic’s first hurricane of 2017.
On Wednesday morning, the storm was located about 195 miles (315 km) east-northeast of the city of Veracruz, Mexico and was carrying maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph), the center added. Franklin was expected to weaken rapidly after making landfall.
The state of Veracruz, a major oil producer, is home to two important petroleum ports, one in Tuxpan and the other in the city of Veracruz.
Across Veracruz state’s northern border is the Ciudad Madero refinery, capable of handling up to 190,000 barrels per day. The plant is on the periphery of the storm’s possible path.
Reporting by Vijaykumar Vedala and Karen Rodrigues in Bengaluru; Editing by Frances Kerry and W Simon