“Since record keeping began in 1949, this is the strongest hurricane to make landfall in May along the Pacific coast of Mexico,” the Hurricane Center tweeted.
Since records began in 1949, it was 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
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 bunch.
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.
8:00 a.m. EDT May 30 – There is a medium likelihood of development by the end of this week from a broad and complex low pressure area expected to develop over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Peninsula and the northwest Caribbean Sea. Follow the news on https://t.co/tW4KeFW0gB pic.twitter.com/U4sv9Rg42G
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) May 30, 2022
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