MEXICO CITY: Franklin, upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane from a tropical storm, is expected to hit eastern Mexico's key oil-producing Gulf state of Veracruz on Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning, the US National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday.
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Franklin, the first hurricane of the Atlantic's season, was packing maximum sustained winds of 75 mph (120 km/h) and was about 105 miles (170 km) northeast of Veracruz, Mexico, the Miami-based weather forecaster said.
"Some additional strengthening is expected until the center crosses the coast (in the Mexican state of Veracruz). Rapid weakening is expected after landfall in Mexico," NHC added.
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Veracruz, a major oil producer, is home to two important petroleum ports in Tuxpan and the city of Veracruz. Across Veracruz state's northern border is the Ciudad Madero refinery, capable of handling up to 190,000 barrels per day. The plant is on the periphery of the storm's possible path.
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