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Season’s first hurricane crashes into Mexico’s east coast

The 2017 season’s first hurricane makes landfall on Mexico’s coast. (Video: Taylor Turner/The Washington Post)
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Packing peak winds of 85 mph, Hurricane Franklin slammed into Mexico’s east coast around midnight local time Thursday, making landfall in the Mexican state of Veracruz.

Franklin had become the Atlantic Ocean basin’s first hurricane of 2017 just hours before landfall, earning the designation at 4 p.m. central Wednesday.

Hurricane chaser Josh Morgerman positioned himself in Vega de Alatorre to intercept the storm’s landfall and encountered extremely turbulent conditions.

As Franklin roared ashore, Morgerman reported the “wind getting dangerous,losing power and “transformer explosions.” That was followed by a “prolonged, pronounced calm” as the storm’s eye moved overhead.

Morgerman said the storm’s backside was “much stronger” than the front, and that the winds were forceful enough to move a car.

As the storm moved inland, flooding was reported in Puebla, Mexico, about 70 miles southwest of Mexico City. The National Hurricane Center had predicted four to eight inches of rain near the storm’s path, and isolated amounts up to 15 inches.

The Associated Press, however, said Franklin “did less damage than feared.”

Franklin became the first hurricane to make landfall in the state of Veracruz since Hurricane Karl in 2010.

The landfall in Veracruz was Franklin’s second, as it had crossed over Mexican’s Yucatan peninsula as a tropical storm on Tuesday, unloading up to half a foot of rain in just 12 hours.

As of 10 a.m. central Thursday morning, Franklin was dissipating, according to the National Hurricane Center, and its peak winds had fallen to 30 mph. Its remnants were positioned about 20 miles north-northwest of Mexico City.

There is a small chance that Franklin’s remnant circulation could survive the trek across Mexico and emerge in the Pacific Ocean off its west coast. In that scenario, it could develop into a new tropical storm, and would earn a new name.