P!Nevents: Agatha Swipes Central America; Death Toll Continues to Rise

P!Nevents: Agatha Swipes Central America; Death Toll Continues to Rise

P!N’s Julia Dawson shares information about the first named storm of the Pacific storm season- one of the deadliest that region has seen.

Tropical Storm Agatha struck Guatemala’s Pacific coast Saturday, May 29, making it the first storm of the Pacific hurricane season and an ominous reminder of experts’ predictions that the 2010 storm season will be especially active.

According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, Agatha traveled along Guatemala’s western coast, striking land in the country’s north May 29 near the Mexican border. Agatha slackened to a tropical depression over Guatemala’s western mountains Sunday, May 30, but heavy rains persisted through Monday, May 31, swelling rivers and spurring mudslides.

Honduras and El Salvador were also hit, and other nearby nations have been threatened. Rains are expected through Thursday in Honduras. Meanwhile, El Salvador’s Acelhuate River, which cuts through San Salvador, has risen to dangerously high levels, threatening the Salvadoran capital’s streets.

Already, Agatha is among the top 10 deadliest Eastern Pacific Storms, with 142 deaths reported in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to date. All three nations have declared states of emergency.

According to All Headline News, Guatemala was hardest hit, with 82 people dead, more than half of those killed in mudslides. Another 110,000 people were evacuated from the area. The Associated Press reported May 31 that thousands of Hondurans fled their homes, with 15 reported dead in the country. In El Salvador, hundreds of landslides have been reported and 11,000 people were evacuated. The official death toll released by the government was nine.

Rescue efforts in Guatemala were hampered by a volcanic eruption Thursday that blanketed parts of the capital region with ash and closed the country’s main airport. Helicopters and propeller planes are now operating, but commercial flights have not resumed.

Sources:

May 31, 2010: Associated Free Press on LA Times Online “Tropical Storm Agatha kills 142 in 3 Central American countries; dozens missing”

http://bit.ly/cPn0Pe

May 31, 2010: All Headline News “Tropical Storm Agatha Blamed For Nearly 100 Deaths in Central America”

http://bit.ly/bEFzZM

May 30, 2010: Reuters “Pacific storm Agatha slams into Guatemala, 13 dead”

http://bit.ly/aOxIzX