Two dead in Mexico, as storm dumps rain along border

At least two people died in Mexico as a result of Hurricane Dolly, officials said Thursday as the now weakened storm continued to dump rain along the US-Mexican border.

Dolly, which struck as a category two hurricane near South Padre Island, Texas on Wednesday, has weakened to a tropical storm with sustained winds of 65 kilometres per hour, the National Hurricane Centre in Miami said. It was expected to weaken further throughout the day.

The storm now located inland north-west of Laredo, Texas, population 215,000, could produce 20 to 30 centimetres of rain in many inland areas near the Rio Grande river, with some places in south Texas and north-eastern Mexico receiving up to 50 centimetres. Forecasters warned of widespread flooding and possible tornadoes.

Authorities in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas said one man was electrocuted by an electric cable that had been blown down by the storm.

Along the coast of Yucatan state, the body of a fisherman was found, newspaper reports said. He had gone missing along with three other men on Sunday off the coast of Cancun as the storm approached, and the other men may also have died in the storm.

In the United States at least one person was reported injured.

President George W Bush on Thursday declared a major disaster area for 15 Texas counties, freeing up federal disaster aid for residents and businesses.

Dolly's 160-kilometre-per-hour winds damaged roofs and windows when it came ashore, ripping up trees and tearing traffic signals from their poles.

In Tamaulipas 36,000 people were evacuated, and 2,800 people fled the storm on the US side of the border.

More than 120,000 people in Tamaulipas and 50,000 people in Texas were without electricity, dpa reported.

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