MATAMOROS, Mexico – The sprawling remains of Hurricane Alex drenched much of northern Mexico on Thursday, paralyzing the major city of Monterrey. At least two people were killed when dry rivers roared to life and highways turned into rushing streams.
Hurricane Alex ripped off roofs, caused severe flooding and forced thousands of people to flee coastal fishing villages as it hit land Wednesday evening in the border state of Tamaulipas. Power and telephone service were down in several towns and cities.
The storm dissipated Thursday as it moved west to Nuevo Leon state, but it still caused major problems.
The dry Santa Catarina river that cuts through Monterrey roared to life, sweeping away cars and parts of rickety, wooden homes built along its path.
One man died when he was caught by a torrent of water along a six-lane highway, city Civil Protection director Pedro Trevino told Televisa Monterrey network. Another man was founed drowned by the side of a creek.
Nuevo Leon state Gov. Rodrigo Medina de la Cruz told Televisa he had ordered all schools closed and appealed for people to stay home from all but essential jobs. The U.S. Consulate in Monterrey also closed due to the storm.
De la Cruz said Alex had already dumped 16 inches of rain in some areas.
The Atlantic season’s first hurricane largely spared nearby Texas, which had prepared for a possible direct hit. While it brought rain, spawned two tornadoes and caused 1,000 people to evacuate low-lying areas there, state officials reported no injuries or major damage.