MEXICO — Hurricane Agatha, the first hurricane of the season, formed Sunday off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico and was rapidly heading towards land.
Agatha could make landfall on Monday near Puerto Escondido in the southern state of Oaxaca.
On Sunday morning, the US National Hurricane Center said the center of Agatha was located about 200 miles (320 kilometers) west-southwest of Puerto Angel, with winds of 75 mph (120 kph) .
It was heading north-northwest at 3 mph (6 km/h).
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.
Agatha is the first tropical storm of the 2022 Eastern Pacific hurricane season.
A hurricane warning has been issued for parts of the coast of the southern states of Guerrero and Oaxaca.
The storm could carry winds of up to 90mph (145kph) on landfall and the center cited the risk of ‘life-threatening flash flooding and landslides’ as its rains pound Oaxaca’s mountainous terrain .
Mexico’s National Water Commission said in a statement that rains from the storm “could cause landslides, raised river and stream levels, and flooding in low-lying areas.”
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 engulfed their home, but the accident does not appear to be linked to Agatha.