Mexican Civilian Protection officials on Thursday declared "red alert" in 120 municipalities of Veracruz state after "Lorenzo" tropical storm gained force off Mexico's Gulf coast.
Lorenzo was forecast to bring dangerous waves and heavy rainfalls to the state of Veracruz, much of which has been flooded after weeks of relentless rain, leaving it vulnerable to storms.
Veracruz's government has announced suspending classes for two days in all public and private schools in the northern region of the state.
Veracruz's Civilian Protection undersecretary Ranulfo Marquez told the press that Lorenzo will cause strong rainfalls, almost similar to Hurricane Stan's that hit the region in 2005 and caused serious damage.
Mexico's National Weather Service (SMN) said that Lorenzo has 95-km per-hour sustained winds and maximum air blasts of 110 km per hour. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane once its sustained winds reach 119 kph.
Mexico's National Water Department (CNA) has asked seamen to be on full alert.
Lorenzo will also cause rainy weather in the Mexican states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, San Luis Potosi, southern Tamaulipas, Queretaro, Oaxaca, State of Mexico and Mexico City.
Late on Thursday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said that Lorenzo has strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane off Mexico's Gulf Coast and was expected to hit land early Friday.