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As Tropical Storm Arlene steadily chugged toward the east-central coast of Mexico Wednesday, Mexican authorities issued a hurricane watch that stretches from the country’s eastern municipality of Tuxpan northward to La Cruz, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Arlene — the first named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season — is moving at about 8 mph, packing sustained winds of 50 mph.

“With any storm of this size, it’s easy to overlook it and call it insignificant,” said CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers. “The major effect with this storm will not be wind damage, but will be inland flooding from up to 12 inches of rain in the mountains of Mexico.”

He added that while Mexico’s northeastern city of Monterrey should be just north of the maximum rainfall, Victoria “may be right in the middle of the bull’s eye.”

Arlene is expected to make landfall early Thursday very near hurricane strength.


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