The powerful earthquake occurred on the anniversary of the devastating earthquake in Mexico

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MEXICO CITY, Sept 19 (Reuters) – A powerful earthquake struck western Mexico on Monday on the anniversary of two devastating quakes, killing at least one person, damaging buildings, cutting power and sending Mexico City residents into the streets for safety.

In a video address by President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, one person died when a wall collapsed at a shop in the nearby Pacific port of Manzanillo. Two hospitals in the western state of Michoacan, near the epicenter, were damaged, officials said.

Shortly after 1 p.m. (1800 GMT), the 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck near the coast of Michoacan and the neighboring state of Colima, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said. The earthquake was relatively shallow, at a depth of 15 km (9 mi), which would have enhanced the shaking.

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The US Pacific Tsunami Warning Center has issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas of Mexico, saying waves of 1 to 3 meters (3 to 9 feet) above the high tide level are possible.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Scheinbaum said there were no immediate reports of major damage in the capital after tremors struck across Mexico on the same day as major earthquakes in 1985 and 2017.

“It’s something about this date, the 19th,” said Ernesto Lanceta, a business owner in the city’s Guahtemoc borough. “The 19th is a day to fear.”

Before announcing the death in Manzanillo, Lopez Obrador said in an earlier message that there were no initial reports of deaths, but that there was material damage in areas near the quake. Pictures posted on social media show buildings badly damaged.

Mexican officials said a seismic warning sounded two minutes before the quake, giving residents time to evacuate their homes.

However, some in the capital struggled to believe it was a real earthquake, as the government had already sounded the alarm as a training exercise to commemorate past quakes that have ravaged Mexico on the same September day.

In Colcoman, Michoacan – near the epicenter – images seen by Reuters show houses and building walls cracked by the force of the quake. In one store, items were scattered on the floor.

Power was cut in parts of the capital’s central Roma area, 400 km (250 mi) from the epicenter.

Tourists visiting the local market accompanied by a local guide stood on the street cradling pets. Traffic lights stopped working and people clutched their phones, texting or waiting for calls.

The September 19, 1985 earthquake killed thousands of people and the September 19, 2017 earthquake killed over 350.

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Report from the Mexico City newsroom; Written by Dave Graham; Editing by Stephen Eisenhammer and Sandra Mahler

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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