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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dean Batters Mexican Oil Platforms

TECOLUTLA, Mexico -- Hurricane Dean closed in on the Mexican mainland Wednesday, battering evacuated oil platforms on the Bay of Campeche and threatening to regain some of the force it unleashed on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Dean swept across the Yucatan on Tuesday after making landfall as a ferocious Category 5 hurricane, toppling trees, power lines and houses -- but sparing resorts on the Mayan Riviera.

Driving rain, poor communications and impassable roads made it difficult to determine how isolated Mayan communities fared in the sparsely populated jungle where Dean made landfall after killing 13 people in the Caribbean.

Greatly weakened from that overland journey, Dean moved across the Bay of Campeche in the southern Gulf of Mexico, home to more than 100 oil platforms, three major oil exporting ports and the Cantarell oil field, Mexico's most productive.

The entire field's operations were shut down just ahead of the storm, reducing daily production by 2.7 million barrels of oil and 73 million cubic meters of natural gas.

The sprawling, westward storm was projected to slam into the mainland Wednesday afternoon near Laguna Verde, Mexico's only nuclear power plant, which is suspending production.

Hurricane specialist Daniel Brown said Dean was unlikely to have enough time to strengthen beyond a Category 1 or 2 hurricane before making landfall Wednesday afternoon.

The last tourists departed Tuesday from the beaches of Tecolutla, a getaway on the western Gulf of Mexico where the storm was forecast to hit.

Zbigniew Szadkowski, 50, a physics professor from Lodz, Poland, said he wanted to see a hurricane in action but was leaving anyway. "I wanted to stay, but my wife said no," he said.