Roxanne regained hurricane force Saturday and wandered through the center of the Gulf of Mexico, threatening to cause more havoc in coastal areas still recovering from its first swipe.
As Roxanne drifted slowly eastward, Mexican officials posted a hurricane warning for more than 1,200 miles of coastline, from Tampico on the central Gulf coast to Progreso on the Yucatan Peninsula.
A cold front to the north was expected to push Roxanne toward the southern Gulf coast, already hit by its first pass and Hurricane Opal.
Roxanne killed at least six people and has driven tens of thousands from their homes since slamming into the resort island of Cozumel on Tuesday with 110-mph winds.
Thousands of people remained in shelters on Saturday. Health authorities were trying to keep an outbreak of cholera from spreading out of control in the flooded areas of the southern Gulf state of Tabasco.
Campeche Gov. Jorge Salomon Azar told the government’s Notimex news agency that more than 100 cargo trucks were trapped by storm damage to a major highway linking Yucatan Peninsula to the rest of Mexico. He said repairs might take several days.
The storm drove westward across the Yucatan Peninsula into the southern Gulf, swamping coastal regions in the states of Campeche and Tabasco, then headed northwest, its winds down at one point to 50 mph.
But the hurricane changed course Friday and has been gradually regaining force. At 5 p.m. EDT, it was about 270 miles north-northwest of Ciudad del Carmen, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.
Forecasters said the storm, which was drifting eastward at 3 mph, was expected to turn south during the next 24 hours, doubling back on its earlier path.
They said maximum sustained winds had grown to 75 mph and could grow stronger. Tropical storm force winds extended outward 175 miles from the center.