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Imaging of the hurricane above the state of Oaxaca. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Record-breaking hurricane hits Mexico at over 160 km/h

The hurricane made landfall on a sparsely populated stretch of small beach towns in southern Mexico yesterday afternoon.

HURRICANE AGATHA MADE history as the strongest recorded to come ashore in the eastern Pacific region in May, hitting the coast at approximately 165 km/h.

After hitting the Mexican state of Oaxaca as a strong category two hurricane, it quickly lost power as it moved inland over the mountainous interior.

Agatha was then downgraded to a tropical storm late yesterday, with its sustained winds down to 110 km/h.

National emergency officials told CBS News they had assembled a task force of more than 9,300 people for the area and more than 200 shelters were opened as forecasters warned of dangerous storm surge.

Agatha was the first hurricane of the 2022 season, two weeks after the official beginning of the eastern Pacific season which runs from 15 May to 30 November.

American forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also predict above-average activity in the Atlantic Ocean this year, with six to 10 hurricanes and three to six major hurricanes.

If the prediction comes true, this year will be the seventh consecutive above-average hurricane season.

The US National Hurricane Centre said the storm should dissipate tonight, but warned that heavy rains still posed a threat.

The agency said the storm was expected to drop 250 to 400 centimetres of rain on parts of Oaxaca, with isolated maximums of 500 centimetres, posing a danger for flash floods and mudslides.


Howling winds and downpours whipped palm trees and drove tourists and residents into shelters.

Heavy rain and big waves lashed the beach town of Zipolite, long known for its clothing-optional beach and bohemian vibe.

“There is a lot of rain and sudden gusts of strong wind,” said Silvia Ranfagni, manager of the Casa Kalmar hotel in Zipolite.

Jeff Masters, meteorologist with Yale Climate Connections and the founder of Weather Underground, said that Agatha is the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in May in the eastern Pacific.

He said the region’s hurricanes typically get their start from tropical waves coming off the coast of Africa.

“Since the African monsoon typically does not start producing tropical waves until early or mid-May, there simply aren’t enough initial disturbances to get many eastern Pacific hurricanes in May,” Masters told PA.

“In addition, May water temperatures are cooler than they are at the peak of the season and wind shear is typically higher.”

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