On May 1, 2022, Hurricane Agatha is heading towards tourist towns in Mexico

MEXICO — The first hurricane of the season formed off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico on Sunday and quickly gained momentum ahead of an expected strike along a stretch of tourist beaches and fishing towns.

Hurricane Agatha could make landfall near major hurricane force on Monday in the area near Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel in the southern state of Oaxaca — an area that includes the laid-back tourist resorts of Huatulco, Mazunte and Zipolite.

Around noon Sunday, the US National Hurricane Center said the newly formed hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) and was centered about 195 miles (315 kilometers) west- southwest of Puerto Angel. It was heading north at 2 mph (4 km/h).

A hurricane warning was in effect between the Port of Salina Cruz and the Lagunas de Chacahua.

The Oaxaca Civil Defense office said the hurricane’s outer bands were already hitting the coast. The office released photos of fishermen hoisting their boats onto the beaches to protect them from the storm.

The government’s Mexican Turtle Center – a former slaughterhouse turned conservation center in Mazunte – announced it was closed to visitors until further notice due to the hurricane.

The Hurricane Center has warned of dangerous coastal flooding, as well as large, damaging waves near where Agatha makes landfall and damaging waves.

The storm was expected to bring 10 to 16 inches (250 to 400 millimetres) of rain to parts of Oaxaca state – with isolated highs of 20 inches (500 millimetres) – posing the threat of flash flooding and lava flows. mud.

Because the storm’s current track would carry it above the narrow waist of the Mexican Isthmus, the center said there was a chance remnants of the storm could reappear over the Gulf of Mexico.

In northern Guatemala, a woman and her six children died on Saturday when a landslide hit their home, but the accident does not appear to be linked to Agatha.

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