From: Michael O'Boyle, Reuters, NOAA
Published November 8, 2009 12:31 PM

Ida Kills 42 in Salvador, Heads Northward

Hurricane Ida strengthened off the Mexican resort city of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula on Sunday as the storm's heavy rains killed at least 42 people in El Salvador.

El Salvador's interior minister said more victims were expected to be found as rescue workers moved into areas cut off by mudslides in the Central American nation.

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Ida was poised to enter the Gulf of Mexico later on Sunday and could gain additional strength as it churns toward the oil and gas production facilities of the central Gulf before weakening as it nears the U.S. Gulf Coast later this week, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.

Mexican authorities had no plans yet to evacuate foreigners from the beach resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, popular with American tourists, but were moving residents of coastal areas into shelters.

The Mexican government urged people to avoid unnecessary travel in the Yucatan Peninsula and imposed restrictions on coastal shipping.

The US National Hurricane Center forecast for Ida projects northward movement with weakening towards the US Gulf Coast.  A hurricane watch is posted for the eastern Louisiana, Mississippi,  and western Alabama Gulf coasts.  See graphic for the forecast path of Ida.

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