Franklin became the first hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season Wednesday as it spun its way westwards toward the Mexico coast near Veracruz where schools were ordeered closed on Thursday.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm was expected to make landfall late Wednesday about 70 miles north-northwest of Veracruz as a Category One hurricane with top winds 85 mph.
Franklin is headed west at about 12 mph, with hurricane force winds extending 35 miles from its center and tropical storm force winds stretching 140 miles. The storm could dump between four and eight inches of rain, with up to 15 inches possible, raising the risk of dangerous flash floods and mudslides, forecatsers said.
On Wednesday, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) forecasters increased their preseason prediction for the number of storms due warm ocean temperatures to between 14 and 19 named storms, five to nine hurricanes and two to five major hurricanes.
"Satellite images on Wednesday afternoon showed that Franklin was an averaged-sized tropical storm, with plenty of heavy thunderstorms that filled most of Mexico’s Bay of Campeche. according to Jeff Masters, an extreme weather expert at Weather Underground.