MEXICO CITY – Hurricane Agatha, the strongest hurricane in history, reached land in May in the eastern Pacific, swept the coast of a stretch of tourist beaches and fishing towns on Monday, then weakened, moving inland over the mountains of southern Mexico.
Heavy rains and howling winds killed palm trees and drove tourists and shelters away as Agatha crashed into a sparsely populated coastal area, except for a handful of small communities along the coast.
The Oaxaca Civil Protection Agency has shown families crashing into a shelter in Pochutla and a rock and mud slide that blocks the highway between the city and the state capital.
Agatha reached the mainland about 5 miles (10 kilometers) west of Puerto Angel in the late afternoon as a strong Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour (165 km / h). But he quickly began to lose strength as he moved inward.
Late Monday, it was reduced to a tropical storm with maximum strong winds of 70 miles per hour (110 km / h). The US National Hurricane Center said Agatha was expected to disappear overnight, but warned that torrential rains in the system still posed a threat of dangerous flash floods.
Earlier in the day, wind, torrential rain and big waves flooded the coastal town of Zipolite, long known for its beach and bohemian mood.
“There is a lot of rain and sudden gusts of wind,” said Sylvia Ranfani, manager of the Casa Kalmar in Zipolite. Ranfagni, who decided to take Agatha to the property, said, “You can hear the wind howling.”
In the surf town of Puerto Escondido, people took shelter and installed plywood to prevent the windows from breaking in strong winds.
The government center for Mexican turtles – a former slaughterhouse turned into a nature conservation center in Mazunte – is closed to visitors due to the hurricane.
Agatha was formed only on Sunday and quickly gained power. It was the strongest hurricane in history to reach land in May in the eastern Pacific, said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist at Yale Climate Connections and founder of Weather Underground.
He said hurricanes in the region usually start with tropical waves off the coast of Africa.
“Because the African monsoon usually begins to produce tropical waves by early or mid-May, there are simply not enough initial disturbances to cause many hurricanes in the eastern Pacific in May,” the Masters wrote in an email. “In addition, water temperatures in May are lower than at the peak of the season, and wind shear is usually higher.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Agatha could rain 10 to 16 inches (250 to 400 millimeters) in parts of Oaxaca, with isolated highs of 20 inches (500 millimeters), threatening sudden floods and landslides. It says smaller quantities could fall in neighboring states to the east and northeast.
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Agatha hit the southern coast of Mexico as the strongest hurricane in May
Source link Agatha hit the southern coast of Mexico as the strongest hurricane in May