Tropical Storm Agatha strengthened into a major hurricane Sunday and is expected to soon make landfall on the southern Pacific coast of Mexico. Will the storm emerge from its bout with Mexico and threaten Miami?
As of the 7 p.m. Sunday advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Agatha’s winds were 110 mph with forecasters predicting that the storm will gain strength as it approaches land.
Agatha is forecast to touch ground as a Category 3 hurricane on Monday afternoon or evening, producing extremely dangerous coastal flooding, destructive waves and heavy rains over portions of southern Mexico through Tuesday night. Hurricane warnings and watches have been issued from Salina Cruz to Lagunas de Chacahua, and eastward to Barra De Tonala.
The question for Florida is what happens after its bout with Mexico’s mountains and terrain? Will the storm regroup in the Gulf and set its sights on the state or elsewhere in the United States?
Forecasters had low hopes that Agatha would survive its journey through southern Mexico, saying it is expected to “dissipate over the rugged terrain of southern Mexico on Tuesday.”
Sunday’s forecast showed a 30% chance that the remnants of Agatha could reform into a tropical depression in the next five days — this time in the Gulf of Mexico.
If the storm does reform into something stronger, like a tropical storm, it would likely ditch the name Agatha and take on the first name of the Atlantic season, Alex. Channel 10 Meteorologist Michael Lowry tweeted that Agatha would only hold onto its name if it maintained tropical depression or storm status the whole time, which is unlikely.
Eric Blake of the National Hurricane Center said over the weekend the message at the moment is to be prepared. We should be, anyway. Check your calendar. Hurricane season officially begins June 1 on Wednesday and, clearly, Mother Nature doesn’t abide by calendars given the first-named storm of the season’s jump start.
“Hurricane season starts next week and so we need to be ready, right?” Blake said.
Former CBS4 meteorologist Craig Setzer, in a series of posts on Twitter Sunday morning, said tropical effects from the Gulf and Caribbean could be headed to Florida by late next week or weekend.
“Bottom line, we’ll keep an eye on these areas for late week/weekend. Too early to tell where or what if anything for Florida,” Setzer told his followers.
“We’re in ‘watching it mode.’ ”
A different way to view the model ensembles (same model, run many different times with slight variations) is to put all of their solutions together. This Euro run from Sat ngt shows possible tropical development heading out of SW Gulf or NW Carib by the weekend. pic.twitter.com/MPDTK5YEGH
— Craig Setzer (@CraigSetzer) May 29, 2022
On Sunday afternoon, 1 to 3 inches of rain with some isolated areas totaling up to 5 inches caused flooded roads across South Florida, WPLG Local 10 meteorologist Brandon Orr said on Twitter, accompanied by a video showing street flooding in Broward County’s Oakland Park. In another tweet, CBS 4 Miami shared a video of a flooded Palmetto Expressway near the exit to 49th Street in Hialeah.
— Brandon Orr (@BrandonOrrWPLG) May 29, 2022
Memorial Day weather
While Mexico could be facing life-threatening mudslides and other ill effects from Agatha on Monday, according to CBS News, South Florida’s Memorial Day holiday promises to be a wet one, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.
Memorial Day eyes a 70% storm chance — and some could be heavy with gusty winds. There’s a high risk of rip currents along Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County beaches.
Staff writer Omar Rodríguez Ortiz contributed to this report.