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Hurricane Agatha aims at Mexico tourist zone


General view of Bahia Principal, as Hurricane Agatha moves towards the south coast of Mexico. This was taken in Puerto Escondido (Oaxaca), Mexico, May 30, 2022. REUTERS/Jose de Jesus Cortes

Jose De Jesus Cortes | Reuters

The first hurricane of the Eastern Pacific Season, Hurricane Agatha headed toward a stretch tourist beaches and fishing villages on Mexico’s south coast Monday, amid warnings about dangerous storm surges and heavy rainfalls.

Agatha was formed quickly on Sunday. The U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted that it would make landfall Monday as a Category 2 hurricane.

It was moving toward the area near Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel in the southern state of Oaxaca — a region that includes the laid-back tourist resorts of Huatulco, Mazunte and Zipolite.

Agatha, according to the Hurricane Center, could bring “extremely dangerous storm surges and life-threatening winds.”

Early Monday, Agatha had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 kph) — just 1 mph under the threshold for a Category 3, the hurricane center said. At 6 mph (9 km/h), the storm’s centre was located 65 miles (110km) southeast of Puerto Angel.

According to the hurricane center, there was little change in the strength of the storm before it makes landfall. Between the Lagunas de Chacahua and Salina Cruz, a hurricane warning was in place.

Oaxaca’s civil defense office published Sunday photos of fishermen putting their boats on the beaches in order to shield them from the wind as they were being swept over by the first bands.

Huatulco’s municipal authorities ordered the “absolute closure” all resort beaches and seven of its most famous bays. Many of these are only accessible by boat. The authorities also shut down local schools, and started putting up storm shelters for emergency situations.

Zipolite to the west, long known as Zipolite’s clothing-optional beaches and bohemian atmosphere, was home to the Casa Kalmar Hotel. The staff put up storm shutters made of wood in order for strong winds not touch glass doors and windows.

Silvia Ranfagni, hotel manager said that the wind is the biggest concern.

With only one guest — and plenty of cancellations due to the hurricane — Ranfagni planned to ride out Agatha at the property, which is three or four blocks from the beach.

She said that she was going to “close myself off” with her animals, which is her cat and dog.

The government’s Mexican Turtle Center — a former slaughterhouse turned conservation center in Mazunte — announced it was closed to visitors until further notice because of the hurricane.

According to U.S. National Hurricane Centers, this storm would drop between 10 and 16 inches (250–400 millimeters) rain in Oaxaca. There may be some isolated rainfalls as high as 20 inches (500 milimeters), creating the risk of flooding or mudslides.