Hurricane Agatha makes landfall in southern Mexico, soaking beach towns

Hurricane Agatha plowed ashore on Mexico’s southern Pacific coast shortly before 4 pm local time Monday, lashing beach resorts in the state of Oaxaca with torrential rains.

A Category 2 storm and the first hurricane to form in the eastern Pacific this year, Agatha made landfall just west of the tourist town of Puerto Angel, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.

The storm was moving northeastward and blowing maximum sustained winds of up to 170 km/h when it made landfall, according to the NHC.

It projected that the eye of the storm would arrive on land near the beach getaways of Puerto Escondido and Mazunte.

Authorities have set up 200 shelters along the coastal state of Oaxaca with capacity to shelter 26 000 people, local officials said.

A hurricane warning is in effect along around 350 km of coastline from the port of Salina Cruz to Lagunas de Chacahua, the Miami, Florida-based NHC said.

Salina Cruz is the site of a major refinery run by state oil firm Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex).

Agatha is expected to dump 25-41 cm of rain on Oaxaca, and up to 50 cm in some areas, the NHC said, noting this could spark lethal flash flooding and mudslides.

Heavy rains are also expected to douse the state of Chiapas,as well as Veracruz, Tabasco and eastern parts of Guerrero.

Agatha should weaken quickly after hitting land and is expected to dissipate over southeastern Mexico by late Tuesday, the NHC said.

 

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