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29 dead, homes flooded in central Mexico

TOLUCA, Mexico — A landslide killed at least 11 people in central Mexico on Friday, adding to 18 deaths this week from severe and unseasonable winter storms that closed schools and freeways and flooded thousands of homes.

Ten men and a woman died in Mexico State after mud and boulders loosened by heavy rains swept down onto a highway Friday afternoon.

At least 20 more people were reported missing in the slide 30 kilometers (20 miles) west of Toluca, Mexico State prosecutors spokesman Alfredo Albitir said.

The heavy rainstorms — unusual in Mexico's normally dry winter — sent rivers over their banks in the neighboring state of Michoacan where at least 16 people, including three children, were killed Wednesday and Thursday.

Michoacan authorities said several people were still missing and at least 2,000 homes were damaged. The federal government declared three Michoacan townships disaster zones, opening access to relief funds.

Two children were killed in the state of Guanajuato.

The rains also slammed Mexico City and the neighboring State of Mexico, where open sewage canals overflowed.

A mix of drain water and sewage flowed into thousands of homes and blocked major thoroughfares in the metropolis of 20 million people. About 7,500 homes were flooded, prompting emergency personnel to ferry people from their homes through chest-high water.

Crews were working Friday to drain flooded areas and put sand bags around damaged drainage channels.

Skies began clearing Friday, and rains were forecast to stop by the weekend. Rain in central Mexico falls almost exclusively between May and October.

Mexico City lies in an enclosed mountain valley where flooding has been a problem for centuries. Over time, deeper and larger drainage tunnels have been built to address the problem, but experts warn that even those may be inadequate.