MEXICO CITY -- Hurricane Diana slammed into Mexico's Gulf Coast Tuesday, unleashing 100-mph winds and torrential rains, damaging homes of about 1,000 people and causing rivers to flood, authorities said.
Rafael Velasco, a government spokesman in Jalapa, 135 miles east of Mexico City in the state of Veracruz, said the hurricane hit land at 2:30 p.m. between Tuxpan and Tamiahua.
There have been no reports of people killed or missing, he said.
Tamiahua, 15 miles north of Tuxpan, was the worst hit town in Diana's initial fury, which brought torrential rains and winds up to 100 mph, Velasco said.
The rains flooded highways and rivers in the northern half of Veracruz and the southern half of the neighboring state of Tamaulipas, Velasco said.
'The sea level has risen 7 feet,' he said, adding that the major rivers in the area -- the Panuco, the Bobos and Cazones -- were rising at an undetermined rate.
'The winds ripped the roofs off a number of houses, and about 1,000 people's homes have been damaged,' Velasco said. 'Not all of the people whose houses are damaged have left their homes.'
Velasco said state and federal authorities, the police and the armed forces are on 24-hour alert. He said refugees were taking shelter in schools and in the Tamiahua City Hall.
Velasco said the hurricane hit land with greater force than had been expected, and that according to the latest weather reports, heavy rains would continue through Wednesday in the low-lying areas and for two to three days more in the mountains.
In Tuxpan, the main communications tower was knocked down by winds at 1 p.m., cutting off telephone communications to most of northern Veracruz, a telephone operator told United Press International.
Rosa Maria Ahuja, a spokeswoman for the state government, said Diana had an active radius of 56 miles, and had affected 14 towns at the foot of the eastern Sierra Madre mountains, including Tampico, Tuxpan and Panuco.
State and federal authorities moved in 10,000 packages of food, medicines and other emergency supplies to strategic points along the coast, although there were no immediate large-scale evacuations.
Authorities warned people living near rivers to move to higher ground, Ahuja said.
At 5 p.m. EDT, the National Weather Service in Miami reported that the eye of Diana had moved onshore near Tuxpan, Mexico, and that a hurricane warning was in effect from Lerdo de Tejada northward to La Pesca.
'The main threat to life will be the rising waters on the coast and the heavy rains producing flash floods and mudslides inland,' said Max Mayfield, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
In September 1988, Hurricane Gilbert hit Mexico's Caribbean coast with nearly 200 mph winds and killed more than 150 people. Gilbert hit the Caribbean resort of Cancun on the Yucatan peninsula, killing 25 people, and then moved up to the inland industrial city of Monterrey, 425 miles north of Mexico City, where it claimed 125 lives, flooded cities and forced evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people.
Diana was upgraded from a tropical storm Tuesday morning, slowing its forward speed and strengthening steadily as it moved toward Mexico.
Small boats were advised to remain in port from Baffin Bay, Texas, southward.