Hurricane Agatha

Hurricane Agatha was a Pacific hurricane which became the strongest hurricane to make landfall along the Pacific coast of Mexico in the month of May since records began in 1949.[1] The first named storm and the first hurricane of the 2022 Pacific hurricane season, Agatha originated from a surface trough south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec. It steadily organized into a tropical depression early on May 28 and within hours intensified into Tropical Storm Agatha. Amid favorable environmental conditions, the cyclone underwent rapid intensification on May 29, strengthening into a Category 2 hurricane and reaching peak winds of 110 mph (175 km/h). Though the storm moved west-northwest early on, it curved toward the northeast in response to weakening high pressure over Mexico. On the afternoon of May 30, the hurricane made landfall just west of Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca, with slightly weaker winds of 105 mph (165 km/h).

Hurricane Agatha
Category 2 hurricane (SSHWS/NWS)
Agatha 2022-05-30 1700Z.jpg
Hurricane Agatha at peak intensity nearing landfall in Oaxaca on May 30
FormedMay 28, 2022
DissipatedMay 31, 2022
Highest winds1-minute sustained: 110 mph (175 km/h)
Lowest pressure964 mbar (hPa); 28.47 inHg
Fatalities9 confirmed, 6 missing
Damage$50 million (2022 USD)
Areas affectedSouthern Mexico
Part of the 2022 Pacific hurricane season

Agatha weakened rapidly as it moved inland, and soon dissipated. Heavy rain brought by the storm triggered landslides and flash flooding, killing at least 9 and left 6 missing in Oaxaca.[2] Aon estimated that total losses reached at least $50 million (2022 USD).[3]

Meteorological historyEdit

 
Map plotting the storm's track and intensity, according to the Saffir–Simpson scale
Map key
  Tropical depression (≤38 mph, ≤62 km/h)
  Tropical storm (39–73 mph, 63–118 km/h)
  Category 1 (74–95 mph, 119–153 km/h)
  Category 2 (96–110 mph, 154–177 km/h)
  Category 3 (111–129 mph, 178–208 km/h)
  Category 4 (130–156 mph, 209–251 km/h)
  Category 5 (≥157 mph, ≥252 km/h)
  Unknown
Storm type
  Extratropical cyclone / Remnant low / Tropical disturbance / Monsoon depression

On May 22, The National Hurricane Center (NHC) began monitoring a low-pressure area located several hundred miles offshore southwest of the coast of Mexico.[4] By 06:00 UTC on May 26, the disturbance's showers and thunderstorms began to show some signs of organization while located a few hundred miles south of the Gulf of Tehuantepec.[5] At 23:16 UTC on May 26, visible satellite imagery indicated that a broad low pressure system had formed in association with the disturbed weather.[6] By 03:00 UTC on May 28, the system had achieved sufficient convective organization to be designated as Tropical Depression One-E, the first depression of the 2022 Eastern Pacific hurricane season.[7] The depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Agatha around 09:00 UTC that same day, while centered about 220 mi (355 km) south-southwest of Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca.[8] Agatha continued to organize based on satellite imagery, with curved bands forming.[9]

Later, a burst of convection formed near the center,[10] and microwave imagery revealed that Agatha had improved its convective structure and better aligned its low-level circulation.[11] The NHC assessed the system to have strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir–Simpson scale by 12:00 UTC on May 29.[12] Agatha was located over warm sea surface temperature of near 86 °F (30 °C) with very low wind shear and began to intensify rapidly.[13] At 21:00 UTC, Agatha was upgraded to a Category 2 system, as Hurricane Hunter aircraft found peak winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) and a minimum barometric pressure of 964 millibars (28.37 inHg), while retaining its intensity.[14][15]

Agatha's rapid intensification appeared to level off in the early hours of May 30, and the hurricane began an anticipated turn to the northeast.[16] Later that day, as the core of the system approached the coast of Mexico, the satellite presentation of the storm displayed hints of an eye occasionally appearing within the central dense overcast, and convection remained quite deep and symmetric around the center.[17] Agatha made landfall near Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca, at 21:00 UTC on May 30, with sustained winds of 105 mph (165 km/h),[18][19] becoming the strongest landfalling Pacific hurricane on record so early in the year.[1][20] Inland, the system moved toward the northeast and weakened to a Category 1 hurricane by 00:00 UTC on May 31.[21] Agatha weakened to a tropical storm three hours later,[22] and then to a tropical depression by 12:00 UTC that same day.[23] Soon thereafter, Agatha degenerated into a remnant low as its low-level circulation dissipated over the mountainous terrain of southern Mexico.[24]

Preparations and impactEdit

 
Hurricane Agatha making landfall near Puerto Ángel, Oaxaca, on May 30

The Mexican government issued a hurricane warning on May 28 for areas along the Oaxaca coast between Salina Cruz and Lagunas de Chacahua, with hurricane watches and tropical storm watches and warnings posted east and west of the warning area.[25] The governments of the states of Oaxaca and Guerrero issued warnings; in Oaxaca, state officials issued warnings to seaside areas and suspended school activities, while ports in Guerrero were closed.[26] Ports were also closed to smaller vessels in Acapulco, Huatulco, Puerto Ángel, and Puerto Escondido. A total of 118 emergency medical care facilities and 215 temporary shelters with capacity for as many as 27,735 people were established throughout Oaxaca.[27] Fourteen shelters were opened in San Pedro Pochutla,[28] and 203 shelters were set up in Puerto Escondido; restaurants and beaches in the city were also closed.[29]

 
May 30 Hurricane Agatha Infographic

On the evening of May 29, intense rainfall hit Acapulco, blocking highways and amassing sea debris on the beaches. A man was trapped in a sewage and was rescued by firefighters and the Red Cross.[30] According to a statement by Governor Alejandro Murat, 9 people were killed by the storm in Oaxaca and a further 6 people were missing.[2] All of these fatalities were due to freshwater flooding in the Sierra Madre del Sur, with some people swept away by overflowing rivers or buried by mudslides.[31][32][33] Coastal regions were also heavily impacted. Bridges collapsed on thoroughfares leading to San Pedro Pochutla and Huatulco.[34] Power outages affected 46,563 people in Oaxaca and another 23,519 in neighboring Veracruz according to the Federal Electricity Commission.[35][36] The extent of the damage in Oaxaca prompted Governor Murat to request declarations of emergency for 26 of the state's municipalities.[34]

The Government of Mexico allocated 6.5 billion pesos (US$323 million) in aid for Oaxaca. As of June 18, 635.3 million pesos (US$31.5 million) had been utilized for immediate response efforts, restoration of power, and distribution of relief supplies. The nation's army handled the distribution of funds to victims.[37] AON Benfield estimates Agatha caused US$50 million of dollars in damage.[3]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Samenow, Jason (May 30, 2022). "Agatha strikes Mexico as its strongest May hurricane". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  2. ^ a b Agence France-Presse (June 2, 2022). "Mexico lowers Hurricane Agatha toll to nine dead". France 24. Archived from the original on June 4, 2022. Retrieved June 3, 2022.
  3. ^ a b "Q3 Global Catastrophe Recap October 2022" (PDF). Aon. October 2022. Retrieved October 28, 2022.
  4. ^ Papin, Philippe (May 22, 2022). Tropical Weather Outlook (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 22, 2022.
  5. ^ Papin, Philippe; Bucci, Lisa (May 25, 2022). Tropical Weather Outlook (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  6. ^ Brown, Daniel (May 25, 2022). Tropical Weather Outlook (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  7. ^ Reinhart, Brad (May 27, 2022). Tropical Depression One-E Discussion Number 1 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 27, 2022.
  8. ^ Beven, Jack; Bucci, Lisa (May 28, 2022). Tropical Storm Agatha Advisory Number 2...Corrected (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  9. ^ Cangialosi, John (May 28, 2022). Tropical Storm Agatha Discussion Number 3 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  10. ^ Blake, Eric (May 28, 2022). Tropical Storm Agatha Discussion Number 5 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 28, 2022.
  11. ^ Beven, Jack (May 29, 2022). Tropical Storm Agatha Discussion Number 6 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  12. ^ Brown, Daniel (May 29, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Intermediate Advisory Number 6A (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  13. ^ Brown, Daniel (May 29, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Discussion Number 7 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  14. ^ Cangialosi, John (May 29, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Discussion Number 8 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  15. ^ Cangialosi, John (May 29, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Advisory Number 8 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  16. ^ Blake, Eric (May 29, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Discussion Number 9 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  17. ^ Cangialosi, John (May 30, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Discussion Number 11 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  18. ^ Álvarez, José María (May 30, 2022). "Pacific season's 1st hurricane makes landfall in Mexico". AP News. Archived from the original on May 30, 2022. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  19. ^ Brown, Daniel (May 30, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Advisory Number 12 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  20. ^ Cortes, Jose (May 31, 2022). "Hurricane Agatha lashes southern Mexico with rain as record-breaking May storm". Reuters. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  21. ^ Brown, Daniel (May 30, 2022). Hurricane Agatha Intermediate Advisory Number 12A (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  22. ^ Blake, Eric (May 30, 2022). Tropical Storm Agatha Discussion Number 13 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  23. ^ Brown, Daniel; Bucci, Lisa (May 31, 2022). Tropical Depression Agatha Intermediate Advisory Number 14A (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  24. ^ Brown, Daniel; Bucci, Lisa (May 31, 2022). Remnant of Agatha Discussion Number 15 (Report). Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  25. ^ Cangialosi, John (May 29, 2022). "Tropical Storm Agatha Advisory Number 4". www.nhc.noaa.gov. Miami, Florida: National Hurricane Center. Archived from the original on May 28, 2022. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  26. ^ Jurado, Alfonso M.; Trejo, Yeseline (May 29, 2022). "Huracán Agatha, en vivo hoy: trayectoria, aviso de huracán y última hora del ciclón en Oaxaca" [Hurricane Agatha, live today: trajectory, hurricane warning and last minute of the cyclone in Oaxaca]. Diario AS (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 30, 2022. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  27. ^ "Huracán Agatha pone en máximo peligro al menos a 75 municipios de Oaxaca" [Hurricane Agatha puts at least 75 municipalities in Oaxaca in maximum danger]. Noticieros Televisa. Televisa S. A. de C. V. May 30, 2022. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  28. ^ "EN VIVO Sigue minuto a minuto el paso del huracán Agatha" [LIVE Follow minute by minute the passage of Hurricane Agatha]. El Universal (in Spanish). May 29, 2022. Archived from the original on May 30, 2022. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  29. ^ Andrew Herrera, Karina (May 30, 2022). "Alerta máxima en Oaxaca por huracán Agatha; habilitan 203 refugios" [Maximum alert in Oaxaca for Hurricane Agatha; 203 shelters habilitated]. Televisa (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 30, 2022. Retrieved May 30, 2022.
  30. ^ Briseño, Héctor (May 29, 2022). "Primeras lluvias intensas llenan de basura playas de Acapulco" [First heavy rains fill Acapulco beaches with garbage]. La Jornada (in Spanish). Archived from the original on May 30, 2022. Retrieved May 29, 2022.
  31. ^ Williams, Ashley R. (June 1, 2022). "Hurricane Agatha kills 11, leaves 20 missing in southern Mexico; storm may drench South Florida by week's end". USA Today. Archived from the original on June 1, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  32. ^ Buschschlüter, Vanessa (June 1, 2022). "Hurricane Agatha: 11 dead and dozens missing in Mexico". BBC News. BBC. Archived from the original on June 1, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  33. ^ Pimentel, Arlen (May 31, 2022). "Afecta Agatha vías de comunicación en 42 municipios de Oaxaca; hay 8 desaparecidos, suspenden aeropuertos y clases" [Agatha affects communication routes in 42 municipalities of Oaxaca; there are 8 missing, they suspend airports and classes]. El Universal Oaxaca (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 1, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  34. ^ a b Morales, Alberto; Villa y Caña, Pedro (June 1, 2022). ""Agatha" deja en su paso por Oaxaca 11 personas fallecidas y 33 desaparecidas" [Agatha leaves 11 people dead and 33 missing on its way through Oaxaca]. El Universal (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 1, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  35. ^ Brink, Haley (May 31, 2022). "Agatha se degrada a depresión tropical tras tocar tierra en el sur de México como huracán de categoría 2" [Agatha weakens to a tropical depression after making landfall in southern Mexico as a category 2 hurricane]. CNN. Archived from the original on May 31, 2022. Retrieved May 31, 2022.
  36. ^ Chaca, Roselia (May 31, 2022). "Restablece CFE 35% la energía eléctrica en Oaxaca y Veracruz tras paso de Agatha" ["CFE restores 35% electrical energy in Oaxaca and Veracruz after Agatha passed"]. El Universal (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 1, 2022. Retrieved June 1, 2022.
  37. ^ "Plan de apoyo para Oaxaca tras daños de Agatha: AMLO" [Support plan for Oaxaca after damage from Agatha: AMLO] (in Spanish). Zacatecas en Imagen. June 18, 2022. Archived from the original on June 21, 2022. Retrieved June 21, 2022.

External linksEdit