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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 08:38 GMT 09:38 UK
Storm lashes Mexico's west coast
A man fights the wind during hurricane Henriette at Cabo San Lucas, 04/09
Henriette pounded Baja California earlier in the week
Tropical storm Henriette has battered Mexico's Pacific coast, killing nine people, as the region endures its worst hurricane season for years.

Hundreds were evacuated as Henriette hit Mexico's western Sonora state with winds of up to 120km/h (75mph), a day after lashing Baja California.

Officials said heavy rains could cause fatal mudslides and flash-flooding.

Meanwhile, in Nicaragua the dead toll from Hurricane Felix rose to at least 38 people, with more than 200 missing.

The two storms came just two weeks after Hurricane Dean killed more than 20 in the region.

Roofs blown off

Felix was a maximum category five hurricane when it smashed into Nicaragua's north-east coast earlier this week, destroying thousands of homes.

Henriette, a much weaker category one hurricane at its peak, hit the Baja California peninsula on Tuesday before moving on to Mexico's mainland.

People are out in the open, they have lost everything
Nancy Enriquez
Local mayor

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) downgraded Henriette to a tropical storm on Wednesday.

But the NHC warned that it could still dump up to 6in (15 cm) of rain on the mainland, and bring isolated downpours of up to 12 in (30 cm) in mountainous areas.

"These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides," a spokesman said.

As the storm hit the port town of Guaymas, residents reported high winds blowing away roofing, trees and road signs.

Seven deaths had already been confirmed from the storm, but the death toll rose to nine after two deaths in Sonora.

And four people were missing after their boat was caught in high seas off Baja California on Tuesday, according to the Associated Press.

Mexican navy officials were searching for the boat, which had two Mexicans and two Japanese nationals on board.

'Lost everything'

Nicaraguan authorities have just begun to count the cost of the damage caused by Felix.

People stand among the ruins of their home in Puerto Cabezas on Nicaragua's coast
It is a huge task to get aid to Nicaragua's worst-hit areas

Up to 9,000 homes, many of them built of wood and tin, were destroyed and as many as 50,000 people were displaced by the hurricane.

"People are out in the open, they have lost everything, children are exposed to the rain," Nancy Enriquez, mayor of the coastal community of Bilwi, told AFP news agency.

Fishing communities of Miskito Indians, many of whom refused to flee before Felix hit, were particularly badly affected.

"It's a miracle we survived. We had nowhere to shelter, people went to the school, the clinic, the Moravian church, but they were destroyed by the hurricane," Calixto Muddy, a Miskito Indian leader told Nicaragua's La Prensa newspaper.

Heavy rain has also been falling in Honduras, where up to 20,000 people have been moved from areas prone to flooding and landslides.

Correspondents say the storm revived memories throughout Central America of Hurricane Mitch, which killed some 10,000 people in 1998.


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SEE ALSO
Nicaragua storm death toll rises
06 Sep 07 |  Americas
Felix slams into Central America
04 Sep 07 |  Americas
Hurricane churns up the Caribbean
19 Aug 07 |  Americas
Dean continues to batter Mexico
24 Aug 07 |  Americas
Felix surges to maximum strength
03 Sep 07 |  Americas

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