Hurricane Agatha makes landfall in Mexico on Monday in Category 2

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With winds of 105 mph, Agatha slammed into Mexico’s southwest coast as a dangerous Category 2 hurricane – the strongest the country has endured in May.

The storm made landfall at 4 p.m. central time Monday just west of Puerto Angel, Mexico, according to the National Hurricane Center.

“Since record keeping began in 1949, this is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in May along Mexico’s Pacific Coast,” the Hurricane Center tweeted.

As it upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane on Sunday, Agatha moved through warmer-than-normal waters, which helped the storm intensify. Warming ocean temperatures in the tropics have been linked to human-induced climate change.

As Agatha moves inland, the Hurricane Center warns the storm will unleash “life-threatening” winds and an “extremely dangerous” ocean surge.

Both along the coast and in the interior of southern Mexico, the storm also poses a threat of “life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides,” according to the center.

Agatha became only the third hurricane to hit Mexico from the eastern Pacific Ocean in May and was the strongest of the group.

Later this week there is a growing chance that remnants of the storm will enter the Gulf of Mexico and become part of a new system that could bring stormy weather to Florida by the weekend.

For now, a hurricane warning covers the area from Salina Cruz to Lagunas de Chacahua in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, with tropical storm warnings to the north and south.

The Hurricane Center predicts the following effects of the hurricane:

  • “Potentially deadly” hurricane-force winds near where the center crosses the coast in Oaxaca through Monday evening.
  • ‘Extremely dangerous’ coastal flooding from rising ocean or storm-induced rise above normally dry land, near and to the east of where Agatha’s center touches earth. “Near the coast, the breaking wave will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” writes the center.
  • The potential for “life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides” in the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Chiapas through Tuesday, with up to 15 to 20 inches of rain in the highlands.

Agatha is expected to collapse as it crosses the rugged terrain of southern Mexico, but her remains could enter the southern Gulf of Mexico into the Bay of Campeche by mid-week.

The Hurricane Center writes that they could be drawn into a “large and complex area of ​​low pressure expected to develop across Central America, the Yucatán Peninsula, and the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.” There is a 40% chance that the low pressure area will develop into a tropical depression or storm, according to the center.

Some computer models show the low pressure area bringing rain to Florida late in the week or over the weekend, but it’s unclear if environmental conditions will sustain more than a weak storm.

If a storm forms, it will earn the name Alex and become the first storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which officially begins June 1.

NOAA predicts seventh straight Atlantic hurricane season