MEXICO CITY (AP) — Hurricane Agatha left at least 11 people dead and 33 missing in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, where it set off flooding and landslides, Gov. Alejandro Murat said Wednesday.
More than 40,000 people in the state have been affected, primarily along the coast and in the mountains just beyond, Murat said.
Agatha was the strongest hurricane since records have been kept to come ashore in May in the eastern Pacific.
It made landfall Monday afternoon on a sparsely populated stretch of small beach towns and fishing villages as a strong Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (170 kph), but it quickly lost power moving inland over the mountainous interior.
Even as Oaxaca continued to search for the missing and clean up downed trees and flooded homes, Mexican officials were watching another large area of thunderstorms along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula that forecasters said could become a tropical storm later this week.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center gave the system a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next 48 hours. As it took shape, it dumped heavy rain on southern Mexico and Belize.
On Thursday, forecasters said the remnants of Agatha will likely become a tropical depression or tropical storm as it moves slowly northeastward over the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Residents in Florida and Cuba were advised to keep an eye on the storm’s path.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio Sandoval was headed to Oaxaca to oversee recovery operations.
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