Mexico’s president said dozens of people were missing after a mudslide that buried homes as Manuel pounded the country’s Pacific coast.
At least 58 people were unaccounted for in the town of Atoyac de Alvarez, Mexican Pesident Enrique Peña Nieto told reporters Wednesday.
The mayor of the town, which is located about 50 miles west of Acapulco, told CNNMexico that 15 bodies had been recovered and at least 70 people remained buried under mud that buried 20 homes.
Manuel, which strengthened into a hurricane Wednesday evening, was one of three storms bringing devastating deluges and flooding to Mexico. At least 80 people were killed in the storms, Mexico’s interior ministry said.
In the Pacific resort city of Acapulco, thousands of tourists were stranded.
“Unfortunately, this took us by surprise,” Veronica Garcia told CNN en Español. “It rained uncontrollably. The streets flooded and we had to stay inside our beach house.”
Garcia said her family was stuck on the home’s second floor because of flooding. As if that wasn’t enough, they had to face an agonizing decision: who should be rescued?
The Garcias were among some 40,000 tourists left stranded or cut off by weather that has claimed dozens of lives during a holiday weekend.
As the water rose, Garcia and her four family members waited nervously on the upper floor for help, but no rescuers appeared to whisk them to safety.
When local volunteers finally arrived with a small kayak, their relief was short-lived. Rescuers said the boat would only fit two family members.
It was decided that Garcia would be rescued, along with one of her sons.
A second round of agony followed as Garcia spent two days in a shelter before the rest of her family was rescued and everyone was reunited.
The Garcias’ story was only one of countless examples of tourists whose vacations were interrupted by severe weather. Mexico was being pummeled from nearly all sides Wednesday as Manuel, the remnants of Hurricane Ingrid, and a new area of low pressure threatened most of the country with flooding or rain.
Mexico’s interior ministry said Wednesday that the storms are responsible for at least 80 deaths nationwide.
And a state-by-state tally indicates the toll could be higher.
In Guerrero state alone, where Acapulco is located, heavy rains and widespread flooding from Manuel caused mudslides that cut off highways and buried homes, Acapulco Mayor Luis Walton told CNN en Español Tuesday night.
“Acapulco is practically incommunicado,” he said.
On Wednesday, the rain eased and rescue operations and evacuations of tourists quickened.
Manuel strengthened into a hurricane Wednesday evening and, as of 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET), was churning with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph about 20 miles (30 km) southwest of the Pacific coastal city of Altata, Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.
Manuel is expected to produce five to 10 inches of rain over the state of Sinaloa, the National Hurricane Center predicted.
While Manuel cast a shadow over the Pacific coast, a low pressure area on the Gulf side — the remnants of Ingrid — continued to batter the coastal states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz.
Residents there sent photos to CNN showing streets that looked like rivers, with the tops of cars sticking out of the flood waters.
And to the south, over the Yucatan Peninsula, another area of low pressure had a 70% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within 48 hours, the National Hurricane Center said.
More than 1 million residents across Mexico have been affected in some way by the storms, Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong told reporters.
Acapulco airport operator Centro Norte Airport Group moved its ticketing process to a convention center because of flooding in the passenger terminals.
Several airlines were waiving fees and helping get passengers out as the airport began to operate again.
A break in the rain allowed some 2,000 people to be flown from Acapulco to Mexico City as of Tuesday night.
Mexico City resident Edgar Nava was one of them.
When he arrived in Acapulco Friday and asked about the rains, he said police told him everything was fine. But Nava told CNNMexico he spent four nights terrified and trapped by flooding in an apartment with three friends.
He flew out of Acapulco on a military airplane that evacuated tourists on Tuesday, leaving his car behind in the resort city.
“I never imagined it would be like this …. There is no way to take the highway,” he said. “Later I will have to figure out how to come back to get it.”
The Acapulco city government said some 40,000 tourists had been stranded in the resort destination. The government set up special hotlines to help tourists, and businesses were offering special discounts for those who found themselves stuck.
“The aid is flowing,” Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto told reporters. “A large deployment (of resources) is being made specifically to the most affected areas.”
The severe weather made it difficult for aid to be airlifted into the hardest-hit areas, but those efforts resumed Wednesday, he said.
CNN’s Shasta Darlington, Brian Walker, Catherine E. Shoichet and Marysabel Huston-Crespo and CNNMexico’s Laura Reyes contributed to this report.
Mariano Castillo and Catherine E. Shoichet | CNN