Hurricane Agatha, the first of its season on Mexico’s Pacific coast, made landfall Monday as a Category 2 hurricane, reports the US National Hurricane Center (NHC). The storm landed in a highly touristic region, where the alert phase has been declared.
With winds of 165 km/h, Agatha, moving at 13 km/h, is the “strongest hurricane” recorded on Mexico’s Pacific coast in May since 1949, the NHC said. The hurricane is expected to weaken later tonight and dissipate over southeastern Mexico in the final hours of Tuesday, it said.
Agatha made landfall around 4 p.m. local time on the coast of the western state of Oaxaca, which attracts many surfers. About 5,240 tourists have been identified in the high-risk area, between the resorts of Puerto Escondido and Huatulco, local authorities said. They can accommodate 26,800 people in 203 temporary shelters. The local civil protection authority has declared the yellow (medium) alarm phase.
Authorities have closed ports in the area to shipping. Airlines have been cancelling flights to Huatulco since Sunday evening.
“The precipitation could cause landslides, a rise in river levels and flooding,” the Mexican Meteorological Service (SMN) warned. Mexico is hit by tropical cyclones every year on its Pacific and Atlantic coasts, usually between May and November.