Agatha Monday made landfall in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca as a Class 2 hurricane, according to reports from the National Meteorological Service (SMN).
”The center of Hurricane Agatha, category 2 on the Saffir-Simpson scale, made landfall in the town of La Redonda, municipality of San Pedro Pochutla, Oaxaca, at approximately 15.30 hours (20.30 GMT), the agency said in a statement.
Half an hour later, the cyclone was 10 km west of Puerto Angel, Oaxaca, with a maximum sustained winds of 165 km/h, gusts of 205 km/h, and heading northeast at 13 km/h.
Agatha had been forecast to make landfall as a category 3 hurricane. It is the first cyclone of the season in the Pacific Ocean. After forming on Sunday, Agatha quickly gained power, and it made landfall as a strong Category 2 hurricane Monday afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
There is a lot of rain and sudden gusts of strong wind, Silvia Ranfagni, manager of Casa Kalmar hotel in the beach town of Zipolite, famous for its clothing-optional beach and bohemian vibe, told VOA. The ocean is really stirred up, and it's raining a lot, Ranfagni added. You can hear the wind howling.”
Relief agencies had assembled a 9,300-strong task force and over 200 shelters, it was reported.
Agatha is the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in May in the eastern Pacific, Jeff Masters, a meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections and the founder of Weather Underground, told VOA.
According to the US National Hurricane Center, the storm was expected to drop 10 to 16 inches (250 to 400 millimeters) of rain on parts of Oaxaca, with isolated maximums of 20 inches (500 millimeters), posing the threat of flash floods and mudslides.
School and beach activities in Huatulco were canceled in anticipation of the storm, which has placed 75 municipalities in southern Mexico on red alert. Other 294 communities were under orange alert, explained Laura Velázquez, national coordinator of Civil Protection, due to which some 46,000 people have been brought to temporary shelters.
On May 28th, a notice was issued to close beaches in the area and to close all activities on May 29th, in addition to the closure of ports to small boats in Acapulco, Guerrero, Huatulco, Puerto Angel, and Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, and Puerto Chiapas.
Mexico's SMN reported a week ago that it foresees the formation of up to 40 tropical phenomena for 2022 both in the Atlantic and the Pacific. At least five of them will hit the country.