Hurricane Agatha made landfall around five miles west of Mexico’s Puerto Angel town as a strong Category 2 storm on Monday at 4pm CT with maximum sustained winds of 105mph, according to the US National Hurricane Centre.
By evening, however, the hurricane lost strength and maximum sustained winds fell to 70mph.
It moved northeast at 8mph, heading toward the Gulf of Mexico.
4pm CDT 30 May - #Hurricane #Agatha has made landfall just west of Puerto Angel, Mexico, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
Since record keeping began in 1949, this is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in May along the Pacific coast of Mexico. pic.twitter.com/dUraseRoDe
— NHC Eastern Pacific (@NHC_Pacific) May 30, 2022
The Hurricane Centre issued warnings of “extremely dangerous” coastal flooding from storm surge and “life-threatening” hurricane-force winds in Oaxaca state.
It added that the storm was expected to drop around 10-16 inches (250-400mm) of rain on parts of Oaxaca, with isolated maximums of 20 inches (500mm), posing the threat of flash floods and mudslides.
10 pm CDT May 30 Key Messages for Tropical Storm #Agatha.
Heavy rains will continue with Agatha over portions of southern Mexico through Tuesday while Tropical Storm conditions will continue within the warning area through the morning.
Visit https://t.co/Oy8uof9ldM for details. pic.twitter.com/IcFtrNrIJp
— NHC Eastern Pacific (@NHC_Pacific) May 31, 2022
Puerto Angel witnessed heavy rain and gusts of wind while big waves lashed the beach town of Zipolite.
Heavy rain has been forecast over southern Mexico through Tuesday.
Schools were cancelled in the tourist area of Huatulco, where authorities ordered “the absolute closure” of all beaches and its seven bays, many of which are reachable only by boat.
The North American country is too familiar with heavy rainfall.
In 2010, a mudslide in central Mexico killed 11 people suddenly, while heavy rain brought on by a downgraded Hurricane Earl in 2016 still triggered multiple mudslides in the states of Puebla and Veracruz and reportedly killed at least 39 people.
Agatha is the first named hurricane of the season and arrives just weeks after the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that it would be another average season, the seventh of its kind in a row.
The agency has predicted up to 21 named storms where wind speeds reach over 39mph, with up to 10 of them that could become hurricanes with wind speeds that could reach over 74mph.
According to scientists at the University of Colorado’s Tropical Meteorology Project, the busy hurricane season in 2022 is driven by an absence of El Nino – a weather pattern where high winds sweep across the southern US and have been shown to help decrease tropical cyclone activity - and higher-than-average sea temperatures throughout the Atlantic Ocean.