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60 mph Winds Are Knocking Over Billboards and Closing Schools in Mexico City

The winds are affecting much of the country, but the most dramatic damage so far has been in the in the metropolitan area with one video shows one billboard falling onto a busy highway and crushing three cars
Screenshot via YouTube

Unusually strong winds have felled at least 148 giant billboards and hundreds of trees in Mexico City and the wider metropolitan area, as well as caused frequent blackouts, and prompted the closure of almost all schools.

The sustained winds of around 20 miles per hour, with gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, are one of the knock-on effects of the interaction of a winter storm and two cold fronts further north. The weather system has also prompted unusual snow falls in several parts of the country, and 25 of Mexico's 32 states are affected by heavy rain and cold weather.


Though the federal government suspended classes in public schools in a total of seven states, the most eye-catching damage so far has been in the capital and the neighboring State of Mexico where the winds have exposed the fragility of the infrastructure and construction.

The most dramatic has been the downing of massive billboards, one of which was captured on a video as it fell over a busy highway on Wednesday, crushing tree cars and injuring five people in Metepec, in the State of Mexico. One of those injured remained in a life-threatening condition on Thursday.

Video via YouTube

The giant billboards, known as espectaculares in Mexico, have long been in the public eye due to fears about their safety, as well as complaints that they are distracting and provoke accidents.

José Manzur, interior minister of the State of Mexico, promised to introduce legislation to crack down on the owners of unregulated and unsafe espectaculares.

"We will not allow this to happen again," Manzur told Radio Fórmula. "We are taking serious measures to sanction those who do not comply with the law."

The winds are expected to ease up by the end of Thursday, though the cold is forecast to continue until the weekend.

Related: We've Passed Peak El Niño — But Many More Months of Extreme Weather Is Likely

Follow Alan Hernández on Twitter: @alanpasten