Nation IN BRIEF : GULF COAST : Storm Shuts Fishing, Commercial Ports

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Flirting with the shoreline, Tropical Storm Opal flooded Mexico's eastern states with heavy rains, closing fishing and commercial ports on the nation's Gulf Coast. A tropical storm warning was in effect for the coastal areas of southeastern Mexico, where Opal was expected to dump 10 inches of rain on some parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. As rivers swelled, more than 20,000 people in Campeche state were forced to abandon their homes during the weekend, the Mexico City newspaper La Jornada reported. In Louisiana, civil defense officials and offshore drilling operators struggled to decide how far to go in their preparations for Opal. The Orleans Levee Board closed the 31 floodgates that protect New Orleans but held off on public sandbagging efforts.

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