Agatha is the first hurricane of the 2022 season and is spinning towards Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane. Landfall could be as early as Monday afternoon or evening, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
Agatha has sustained maximum winds of 110 mph (1 mph shy of Cat 3) about 65 miles southwest of Puerto Angel as it moved northeast at six mph early Monday.
"Life-threatening hurricane-force winds are expected in portions of the hurricane warning area in southern Mexico on Monday," NHC warned.
The storm's path is near Puerto Escondido and Puerto Angel in the southern state of Oaxaca, an area known for beaches and resorts.
NHC said that Agatha could "bring extremely dangerous coastal flooding from storm surge accompanied by large and destructive waves is expected near and the east of where Agatha makes landfall."
NHC forecasts Agatha to dump 10 to 16 inches of rain on parts of Oaxaca, with some areas of at least 20 inches, which may trigger mudslides and flash floods.
The official Atlantic hurricane season begins on Wednesday and lasts through Nov. 30, where there's a strong possibility of an above-normal season.
"Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook 2022: 70% likelihood of 14-21 named storms of which 6-10 could become hurricanes, including 3-6 major hurricanes," tweeted NOAA.
Meanwhile, there's a 40% chance of tropical development in the Gulf of Mexico over the next five days.
"A large and complex area of low pressure is expected to develop across Central America, the Yucatán Peninsula, and the southwest Gulf of Mexico in a few days, partially related to the remnants of Hurricane Agatha from the eastern Pacific. Some gradual development is possible within this system in the far southwest Gulf of Mexico around midweek or in the northwest Caribbean by the latter part of this week as it drifts eastward or northeastward," NHC said.
Another active hurricane season could prove disastrous for offshore drilling and inland refinery operations along the US Gulf Coast and comes at a time the Biden administration struggles to stomp out high pump prices. It only takes one powerful storm to dent Gulf Coast refining capacity, thus catapulting fuel prices on the East Coast to the moon. So much for the SPR drain…