Cancún (Mexico) (AFP) - Tropical Storm Franklin will likely strengthen into a hurricane when it makes landfall again on Mexico's eastern coastline, storm forecasters said Wednesday.
Franklin made its first landfall on Mexico's Yucatan peninsula on Monday, dumping heavy rain on some of the country's premier tourist beaches.
Moving west Franklin crossed the peninsula, emerging into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico around midnight Tuesday.
At 0900 GMT Wednesday the center of Franklin was some 240 miles (390 kilometers) east of Veracruz, Mexico's main eastern port located in the state of the same name, the NHC said.
The storm was moving west at 13 miles (20 kilometers) per hour and packing maximum sustained winds of 65 miles (100 kilometers) per hour.
"Additional strengthening is expected, and Franklin is forecast to become a hurricane later today and reach the coast of Mexico as a hurricane tonight or early Thursday," the NHC said.
The second landfall "will be much stronger than the first one," churning up waves up to five meters high, said Alberto Hernandez, an official with Mexico's National Meteorological Service.
Mexican soldiers and sailors have been deployed to organize preventive evacuations along the coast and the mountains of the state of Puebla, where authorities fear that heavy rain could cause deadly landslides.
Mexico's long eastern coastline is often struck by storms during the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 through November 30.
In September 2013 Mexico was struck almost simultaneously by hurricanes Ingrid in the east and Manuel in the west, leaving some 157 dead in the southern state of Guerrero. Fifty of those killed died in a landslide in the coffee producing town of La Pintada.