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A dying Dean kills 8 in Mexico

August 24, 2007|Sam Enriquez | Times Staff Writer

MEXICO CITY — Hurricane Dean saved some of its worst for last, killing eight people after shrinking to a rainy tropical depression over central Mexico, authorities reported Thursday.

In the state of Puebla, a family of four, including two children, died Thursday when mud slid onto a highway overpass and crushed their car as they drove beneath, state authorities said. On Wednesday, a government official died in a car accident while checking for damage during the storm and a 76-year-old man was killed when part of his house fell on him.

A 35-year-old woman and a 14-year-old girl died Wednesday when a roof collapsed in the state of Hidalgo, state authorities said.

A man died Wednesday trying to ford a rain-swollen river in Veracruz state. But because he ignored warnings from rescue personnel to find another route, state officials said they would not count his death in the storm total.

The same held for a man who was reportedly electrocuted by power lines while trying to secure his roof before the storm hit the Mexican mainland Wednesday morning.

The storm toll in Mexico brought the number of fatalities associated with Dean to 28, mostly in the Caribbean. The hurricane had reached its full strength, Category 5, when it struck a relatively isolated stretch of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula on Tuesday. So far no deaths have been reported there, though property damage was extensive.

Mexican officials said Thursday that about 90,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, with an estimated 60,000 people in shelters overnight Wednesday. The Yucatan lost nearly 400 square miles of crops, most in the state of Campeche.

After Dean hit the Veracruz coastline on Wednesday as a still-dangerous Category 2 hurricane, it quickly began to lose strength. Within hours it was downgraded to a tropical depression. But its arrival near the end of central Mexico's rainy season caused some landslides and flooding overnight, as well as blackouts.

By Thursday afternoon, the rain had stopped and Dean was done.

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sam.enriquez@latimes.com

Cecilia Sánchez in The Times' Mexico City Bureau contributed to this report.

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