Mexico's Gulf Coast Braces For Storm

(AP) Parts of Mexico's Gulf Coast were under a storm watch early Thursday as a tropical depression drifted closer, while Tropical Storm Karen slightly weakened in the open Atlantic Ocean.

The Mexican government on Wednesday issued a tropical storm watch from Palma Sola to La Cruz, meaning winds of 39 mph to 73 mph were possible within the next 36 hours. The depression was expected to produce as much as 15 inches of rain over the Mexican state of Veracruz.

At 8 a.m. EDT Thursday, the 13th depression of the season was centered about 200 miles east-southeast of Tampico and about 140 miles east of Tuxpan. Its maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph, 4 mph below tropical storm strength. The depression was moving toward the west-southwest at about 3 mph, and was expected to slowly move to the west during the next day.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Karen was centered about 970 miles east of the Windward Islands and moving west-northwest at about 15 mph. Its maximum sustained winds had decreased to 65 mph by 5 a.m. EDT, down from 70 mph three hours earlier. Some further weakening was forecast. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph.

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