11 people are dead and 20 are missing after Hurricane Agatha touched down in southern Mexico, causing dangerous flooding and mudslides, the governor of the southern state of Oaxaca said Tuesday.
Gov. Alejandro Murat said rivers overflowed their banks and swept away people in homes, while other victims were buried under mud and rocks. Murat said the deaths appeared to be concentrated in a number of small towns in the mountains, just inland from the coast.
But he said there were also reports of three children missing near the resort of Huatulco.
“There were fundamentally two reasons” for the deaths, Murat told local media. “There were rivers that overflowed, and on the other hand, and the most serious part, were landslides.”
Forecasters expect the diminished tropical depression Agatha — which made landfall in Mexico on Monday as a hurricane — to bring heavy rain as far as South Florida over the next few days.
National Hurricane Center spokesperson Dennis Feltgen said a “large and complex area of low pressure” is forecast to develop near the Yucatan Peninsula and the northwestern Caribbean Sea within a couple of days. Rainfall is expected to spread across western Cuba, South Florida, and the Florida Keys by the end of the week.
That low-pressure area is partially related to Agatha’s remnants from the eastern Pacific, Feltgen said.
“Despite strong upper-level winds over the area, the system could become a tropical depression while it moves northeastward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico late this week,” Feltgen said.
Agatha made landfall Monday afternoon as a strong Category 2 hurricane 5 miles west of Puerto Angel in an area of fishing villages and small beach towns, packing maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
Southern Mexico’s mountainous terrain quickly slowed Agatha down after landfall, the National Hurricane Center reported Tuesday late morning. Satellite imagery showed Agatha’s was still circulating, but its center had dissipated.