Even as Tropical Storm Fernand weakened from a hurricane to a tropical depression, heavy rains have caused casualties in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz.  The governor of the state said on Monday that a total of 13 people died in mudslides.  Nine of the deaths occurred in the municipality of Yecuautla, three in Tuxpan and one in Atzalan.  Governor Javier Duarte de Ochoa warned the state's 7.7 million residents that "the emergency continues" and recommended that they stay home, adding that they should be prepared to evacuate their homes if necessary.  A tropical storm warning remained in effect on Mexico's Gulf coast from Veracruz to Tampico. 

According to El Universal, the deaths occurred when part of a hillside split off and buried houses with their inhabitants still inside.  Officials say that heavy rains will continue on Monday and that wet ground could spark more dangerous mudslides.  Damages have already been sustained to structures in some 19 municipalities, while six rivers and streams have partially breached their banks.  Some 100 people have been affected by the storm, while nine temporary shelters have been set up by Veracruz civil protection to shelter some 291 people.  Classes were also suspended across the state in anticipation of the storm's damages. 

"Once the emergency passes and we can begin to attend to the effects, we will look into belongings and residences that might have been affected," said Duarte.  "There have been some expressions of concern from people and I want to tell them that they will be attended to."  Fernand is expected to produce four to eight inches of rain over parts of several states.  Its maximum sustained winds decreased on Monday to near 35 miles per hour, several hours after making landfall, according to the Associated Press. 

Mexico's National Meteorological Service reported that the center of the tropical storm is moving over the north of Veracruz, where it is maintaining a thick cloud cover as it weakens in coming hours.  At 4pm on Monday afternoon it was located about 60 miles to the northeast of the city of Veracruz, the state's capital.  The Meteorological Service has designated an area between the capital and Barra de Nautla as a weather watch zone, while parts of states Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí, Hidalgo and Puebla are also on advisory for heavy rains. 

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