Hurricane Agatha is heading towards tourist cities in Mexico

MEXICO CITY (AP) — The first hurricane of the season formed off Mexico’s southern Pacific coast on Sunday, quickly gaining strength ahead of an expected strike along a stretch of tourist beaches and fishing villages.

Hurricane Agatha could make landfall near major hurricane strength Monday near Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel in the southern state of Oaxaca — a region that includes the laid-back tourist towns of Huatulco, Mazunte and Zipolite.

Around noon Sunday, the US National Hurricane Center said the recently formed hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 km/h) and was centered about 195 miles (315 kilometers) west-southwest of Puerto Angel. It was flying north at 4 km/h.

A hurricane warning was in effect between the port of Salina Cruz and the Lagunas de Chacahua.

Men board up windows as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Agatha.
Men board up windows as they prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Agatha.
Reuters/Jose de Jesus Cortes
Waves are pictured on a beach as Hurricane Agatha rolls toward Mexico's southern coast.
The storm was expected to drop 10 to 16 inches of precipitation.
Reuters/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Civil Defense in Oaxaca said the hurricane’s outer bands had already hit the coast. The bureau released photos of fishermen heaving their boats onto beaches to protect them from the storm.

Huatulco City Council ordered the “absolute closure” of all beaches in the resort town and its famous “seven bays,” many of which are only accessible by boat. They also closed local schools and began setting up shelters.

To the east in Zipolite, long known for its dress-free beach and bohemian vibe, staff at the small hotel Casa Kalmar collected patio furniture and installed wooden storm blinds to keep high winds from blowing out glass windows and doors.

“The biggest concern here is the wind,” said hotel manager Silvia Ranfagni.

With just one guest — and lots of cancellations due to the hurricane — Ranfagni planned to ride Agatha on the property, which is three or four blocks from the beach.

“I’m going to lock myself in here with my animals,” she said, referring to her dog and cats.

A ship belonging to the Secretary of the Navy patrols near the beach in Puerto Madero.
A ship belonging to the Secretary of the Navy patrols near the beach in Puerto Madero.
Reuters/Jose Torres
Men work on a beach as Hurricane Agatha lashes Mexico's southern coast
The southern region is a hotspot for many tourists.
Reuters/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Mexico’s government turtle center — a former slaughterhouse turned conservation center in Mazunte — said it was closed to visitors until further notice because of the hurricane.

The US National Hurricane Center warned of dangerous coastal flooding, as well as large and destructive waves near where Agatha makes landfall, and destructive waves.

The storm was expected to drop 10 to 16 inches (250 to 400 millimeters) of rain on parts of Oaxaca state, with isolated highs of 20 inches (500 millimeters), posing the risk of flash flooding and mudslides.

Because the storm’s current path would carry it over the narrow waist of the Mexican Isthmus, the hurricane center said there was a possibility the storm’s remnants could resurface over the Gulf of Mexico.

In northern Guatemala, a woman and her six children died on Saturday when a landslide hit their home, but the accident appeared unconnected to Agatha.

https://nypost.com/2022/05/29/hurricane-agatha-heads-for-mexico-tourist-towns/ Hurricane Agatha is heading towards tourist cities in Mexico

JACLYN DIAZ

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