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Tropical Storm Grace brings heavy rain and strong winds to the Yucatan Peninsula
01:15 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

Grace plowed through the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday and weakened to a tropical storm but is expected to regain hurricane strength as it approaches the Gulf coast of Mexico, said the National Hurricane Center.

That second landfall is forecast Friday evening or Saturday morning along the Mexican coast west of the Yucatan Peninsula. The storm will stay well south of Texas, so little if any impacts are expected to the US mainland.

A new hurricane warning has been issued along the Mexican mainland coast from Puerto Veracruz to Cabo Rojo. Late Thursday afternoon, the storm was 50 miles northeast of Campeche, with winds of 50 mph.

The eastern coast of the Yucatán, including Cancun, Cozumel and Punta Herrero, has been under a hurricane warning since Tuesday due to Grace becoming better organized as it moved west, battering Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.

Meanwhile, heavy rain is expected through Friday over north-central portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and will likely result in areas of flash and urban flooding.

And in central to northern Veracruz, northern Puebla and into Hidalgo, 6 to 12 inches of rain – with a maximum of 18 inches – is expected from Friday through Sunday. It may result in flash and urban flooding, and could also produce mudslides.

A dangerous storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 3 to 5 feet above normal tide levels along the coast of mainland Mexico around the area where the center will make landfall by early Saturday. And large and destructive waves are expected along with the surge.

Hotels and businesses brace for the storm

At least 125 tourists were evacuated from hotels and taken to shelters ahead of Grace’s landfall, Quintana Roo state Gov. Carlos Joaquín González said late Wednesday.

“In Tulum, hotels have been evacuated, and the tourists taken to different hotel shelters,” González said on Twitter.

Work-related activities in Quintana Roo have been suspended and local leaders asked businesses to shut down temporarily and for people to be in their homes or in shelters overnight.

“Crossings from Cancún to Isla Mujeres were suspended; all ports are already closed to navigation. Waves of up to 4 meters high are expected,” González said.

The local government issued a red alert representing the “highest risk” for eight municipalities, including: Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Tulum, Solidaridad, Puerto Morelos, Benito Juárez, Lázaro Cárdenas, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel.

CNN’s Karol Suarez, Madeline Holcombe and Judson Jones contributed to this report.