Police and other rescuers ferry hurricane victims to safety in Acapulco, Mexico (map) on September 18—a common scene across Mexico this week. The country has been hit by not one, but two hurricanes in recent days.
Manuel made landfall on September 15, as a tropical storm, initially killing at least 14 people, according to news reports. After bumping along up the coast, the storm gained strength and became Hurricane Manuel on September 18. (Related: "GPS Reveals Hurricane Wind Speeds.")
"To say exactly how rare this is would require some analysis of the historical data, but I'm sure it's safe to say that it's quite rare to have two hurricanes affecting land so close in location and time," James Kossin, an atmospheric scientist with the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, said by email.
—Jane J. Lee
Photograph by Pedro Mera, Xinhua Press/Corbis
Tropical storm Manuel dumped torrential rains on the state of Guerrero (map), on Mexico's Pacific coast, earlier this week. Swollen rivers spewed floodwaters into towns like Chilpancingo (pictured) on Monday.
Once a storm starts interacting with land, it's more common for it to weaken, rather than intensify, as Manuel has, said Kossin.
"In Manuel's case, the shape of the coastline relative to [the storm's] track allowed it to actually move away from land as it moved north. This is due to the eastward jog of the coastline around Puerto Vallarta," he explained.
"Manuel was apparently far enough from the negative effects of land, and in a good enough environment, to intensify."
Photograph by Alejandrino Gonzalez, AP
Looters clear out a grocery store in Acapulco, Mexico, on September 17 as tropical storm Manuel drenched the region. Heavy rains caused floods and landslides in several Mexican states.
Photograph by Ronaldo Schemidt, AFP/Getty Images
Torrential downpours resulted in floods, triggered landslides, and decimated homes (pictured) in the Mexican state of Oaxaca (map).
Photograph by Jorge Luis Plata, Reuters
Searching for Survivors
Soldiers and police search for any survivors of a landslide on September 16 in the state of Veracruz, Mexico. Heavy rains from Hurricane Ingrid also damaged bridges and roads.
Photograph from AFP/Getty Images
Washed out roads and collapsed bridges (pictured September 18) in the state of Guerrero have wreaked havoc with rescue attempts. Damaged highways have cut off tourist city Acapulco from the rest of the country.
About 10,000 tourists were flown out by Wednesday night, leaving an estimated 30,000 to 50,000 waiting to be evacuated, according to news reports.
Photograph by Francisca Meza, European Pressphoto Agency
A boy stands amongst the wreckage of a house, which collapsed during a landslide in Acapulco on September 15.
Photograph by Jacobo Garcia, Reuters
Two men survey the wreckage of a house inundated with mud in the city of Altotonga, on the Gulf side of Mexico, in the state of Veracruz. Pounding rains from Hurricane Ingrid have left a soggy, muddy mess in several states across Mexico. (Related: "Improved Forecasting Will Help Track Hurricane Season.")
Photograph by Oscar Martinez, Reuters
A small chapel on the outskirts of Acapulco, Mexico, lies entombed in mud and rocks on September 16.
Photograph by Bernandino Hernandez, AP
A man with a jackhammer attempts to break apart a boulder blocking a road on the outskirts of Acapulco on September 16.
Landslides triggered by "biblical" rains from Manuel have resulted in damaged roads and highways.
Photograph by Bernandino Hernandez, AP
People wait near a collapsed bridge for a boat to take them and their belongings across the Papagayos River, south of Acapulco, on September 18.
Photograph by Eduardo Verdugo, AP
Out to Dry
Pictures and religious figurines dry out on the trunk of a car in the flooded beach resort town of Acapulco, Mexico, in Manuel's aftermath on September 18.