Storm Nate Fizzles After Landfall in Gulf of Mexico

By Roberto Ramirez | September 11, 2011

Storm Nate weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday as it moved farther inland across the coffee and sugar growing state of Veracruz, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Nate, which could still dump one to two inches of rain over Veracruz, is expected to dissipate on Monday, the Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

State oil monopoly Pemex said it had rescued seven out of 10 contract workers who had been missing since Thursday after evacuating a rig in the Gulf of Mexico due to bad weather.

Four Mexicans, two Americans and one Bangladeshi were among those rescued in the Bay of Campeche. Two other workers were found dead and one remains missing, Pemex said.

The depression was 30 miles south south-west of Tuxpan, with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour , the hurricane center said in its 4:00 p.m. CDT advisory. It is moving west, north-west at eight mph.

Veracruz is one of Mexico’s top producers of coffee and sugar and flooding could damage recently planted crops. High moisture also can cause fungus in coffee beans and flooding and landslides that could affect transportation routes and delay exports.

Sugar crops in Veracruz were greatly damaged last year in an intense tropical storm season.

The oil-exporting port of Cayo Arcas remained closed along with two other smaller ports. Dos Bocas reopened to shipping earlier on Sunday after four days of inactivity.

Pemex evacuated 473 workers from five sea platforms as a precaution but had not said if they had started to return to work. Nate had cut Mexican oil production by 178,800 barrels a day as of Friday.

Local media reported a fisherman drowned Friday after strong surf capsized his little boat in the Bay of Campeche area.

Meanwhile, the center of Tropical Storm Maria was seen passing well north of Puerto Rico later on Sunday.

The storm was located about 115 miles north-northeast of San Juan Puerto Rico, with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.

(Additional reporting by Cyntia Barrera Diaz in Mexico City and Kevin Gray in Miami; Editing by Chris Wilson)

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