Hurricane Emily Getting Stronger for 2nd Hit

Hurricane Emily gathered strength in the Gulf of Mexico for a second strike against Mexico and south Texas late Tuesday, after ripping roofs off resort hotels and stranding thousands of tourists in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Emily hit the Mayan Riviera on Monday as a fierce Category 4 storm with 135 mph winds, causing millions of dollars in damage. Hundreds of local residents were left homeless, but no deaths or major injuries were reported.

The storm weakened during the rampage but once back out to sea it began to strengthen again, developing sustained winds of nearly 90 mph. Forecasters expected Emily, a Category 1 hurricane Tuesday morning, to hit northeastern Mexico, possibly as a major hurricane, as early as Tuesday night.

Southern Texas was also threatened, and the National Hurricane Center in Miami posted hurricane warnings along both sides of the Mexico-Texas border.

From the Mexican port of Tampico 250 miles north to the southern Texas coastline, residents boarded up windows and evacuated low-lying areas. Mexico's state-run oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, evacuated 15,000 oil workers from rigs in the storm's path.

In Texas, many tourists on South Padre Island started packing up Monday, although about 10,000 remained, officials said. A steady stream of RVs headed north from the island resort after a local judge ordered vehicles in danger of being blown over by high winds to leave county parks on the island.

Meanwhile, Yucatan Peninsula residents waded through knee-deep flood waters to assess damage from Monday's hit. Many are poor and came to the Yucatan Peninsula for jobs. They live in flimsy thatched huts just out of sight of the resorts.

Officials for the state of Quintana Roo estimated about 3,000 such huts were damaged or destroyed.

For more on Hurricane Emily go to the StormTracker 7 Hurricane Center. Click Here!

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)