MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mudslides triggered by the intense rainfall in eastern Mexico have left 18 people dead over the weekend, and more lives are threatened as saturated hillsides have collapsed onto homes in the wake of now-dissipated Tropical Storm Earl.

At least eight people were confirmed dead on Sunday near the town of Huauchinango, located in the rugged Sierra Norte de Puebla mountains in Puebla state, Huauchinango Mayor Gabriel Alvarado said in a statement.

Another 10 have died in neighboring Veracruz state, buried in landslides after intense rainfall and flooding Governor Javier Duarte said in a post on Twitter on Sunday.

The Huauchinango death toll could increase, Alvarado said, adding that more than 200 people had been affected by damages to homes.

Luis Felipe Puente, head of national emergency services, told Reuters the number of dead in Puebla could reach 18, though he said the estimate remained preliminary.

In Veracruz, "We continue to monitor rivers that are above critical levels," Duarte said in another Twitter post.

Before crossing into Mexico, Earl battered Belize last Thursday, smashing car windows and punching holes in the roofs of Belize City's wooden houses. It also flooded parts of the coast.

(Reporting by Adriana Barrera and David Alire Garcia; Editing by Alan Crosby and David Gregorio)