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Home World News Washington Post World News Hurricane Agatha sets record in May, then weakens over Mexico

Hurricane Agatha sets record in May, then weakens over Mexico

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PUERTO ESCONDIDO, Mexico – Hurricane Agatha made history as the strongest-ever hurricane to make landfall in May during the hurricane center in the eastern Pacific Ocean, making landfall on a sparsely populated stretch of small beach towns and fishing villages in southern Mexico.

The storm made landfall in the state of Oaxaca Monday afternoon as a strong Category 2 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph), before losing strength as it moved inland across the mountainous interior.

Agatha was downgraded to a tropical storm late Monday, with sustained winds dropping to 70 mph (110 kph). The US National Hurricane Center said the storm should dissipate overnight but warned that the heavy rainfall in the system still poses a threat of dangerous flash flooding to Mexico’s southern states.

Torrential rains and howling winds knocked down palm trees and drove tourists and residents to shelters. The Oaxaca State Civil Protection Bureau showed families storming into a shelter in Pochutla and a rock and mudflow blocking a highway.

Heavy rain and high waves plagued the resort town of Zipolite, long known for its clothing-optional beach and bohemian vibe.

“There is a lot of rain and sudden gusts of wind,” said Silvia Ranfagni, manager of the Casa Kalmar hotel in Zipolite. Ranfagni, deciding to drive Agatha out onto the property, said, “You can hear the wind howling.”

In the surfing town of Puerto Escondido, people took shelter and installed plywood to prevent windows from breaking due to the high winds.

The Mexican government’s turtle center – a former slaughterhouse turned conservation center in Mazunte – has been closed to visitors due to the hurricane.

Agatha was only formed on Sunday and quickly gained power. It was the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall in the eastern Pacific in May, said Jeff Masters, a meteorologist at Yale Climate Connections and the founder of Weather Underground.

He said the region’s hurricanes usually originate in tropical waves that hit the coast of Africa.

“Since the African monsoon typically doesn’t start producing tropical waves until early or mid-May, there just aren’t enough initial disturbances to get many hurricanes in the eastern Pacific in May,” Masters wrote in an email. . “In addition, water temperatures in May are cooler than at the peak of the season, and wind shear tends to be higher.”



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