The first hurricane of the Eastern Pacific season strengthened on Sunday as it tracked down Mexico’s southern coast, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (177 km/h) expected to worsen before the storm hits. does not make landfall on Monday.
“Further strengthening is expected over the next 12 to 24 hours and Agatha is expected to become a major hurricane when it reaches Mexico’s southern coast on Monday,” Florida’s National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Tropical Storm Agatha forms off the Pacific coast of Mexico
As of 4 p.m. Sunday (Mexico City time), Hurricane Agatha was located about 185 miles southwest of Puerto Angel, according to the NHC.
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Hurricane warnings have been declared for parts of the Oaxaca coast, stretching from Salina Cruz to Lagunas de Chacahua, according to the NHC.
“The storm surge is expected to produce extremely dangerous coastal flooding,” the NHC said.
In Oaxaca, authorities have set up 200 shelters along the coastal region with a capacity to house 26,000 people, according to local civil protection.
Some 5,000 tourists are expected to be in the impact zone, which is home to popular beach destinations.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rains to the southern states of Oaxaca, Chiapas and Guerrero, the NHC said, which could trigger “life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides.”
(Reporting by Jose Cortes in Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, and Laura Gottesdiener in Monterrey; Editing by Mark Porter and Grant McCool)