Veracruz, Puebla, Tlaxcala, Hidalgo, Querétaro and eastern San Luis Potosí could see 6 to 12 inches of rain with isolated totals up to 18 inches through Sunday, the hurricane center forecasters predicted.
The storm is forecast to move across the southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Friday before making landfall along the coast by day’s end. It was about 105 miles north-northeast of Veracruz.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Mexico’s coast from Puerto Veracruz north to Cabo Rojo. A warning means hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area in the next 36 hours; a watch indicates hurricane conditions are possible in that area in the next 48 hours.
Additionally, a storm surge of 4 to 6 feet above normal tide levels is possible, according to the hurricane center. Swells across the area are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
“Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” the center said.
Grace already hit Mexico once before
The eastern coast of the Yucatán, including Cancun, Cozumel and Punta Herrero, were under a hurricane warning since Tuesday due to Grace becoming better organized as it moved west, battering Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Businesses braced for landfall, and at least 125 tourists were evacuated from hotels to shelters, Quintana Roo state Gov. Carlos Joaquín González said Wednesday.
“In Tulum, hotels have been evacuated, and the tourists taken to different hotel shelters,” González said on Twitter.
In Quintana Roo, work-related activities were suspended. Local leaders asked businesses to shut down temporarily, and urged residents to stay at home or in shelters.
Earlier this week, Grace also passed over Haiti, which was in recovering from a magnitude 7.2 earthquake that killed least 1,941 people. About 1.2 million people, including 540,000 children, were affected by the earthquake, according to UNICEF.
CNN’s Gene Norman, Haley Brink, Michael Guy, Travis Caldwell, and Judson Jones contributed to this report.