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Hurricane Agatha in Mexico: Can the storm reach the US?

A tropical storm arrived at the coast of Mexico on Tuesday and some models predict that the remnants could reach Florida by the weekend.

Hurricane Agatha could be on the way to the United States

Hurricane Agatha was downgraded to a tropical storm on Monday evening, shortly after making landfall in southern Mexico.

The Category 2 hurricane had maximum sustained winds of around 105 mph, becoming the strongest hurricane ever recorded to come ashore during the eastern Pacific hurricane season in May. Authorities in Mexico have confirmed that at least ten people have died as a result of severe flooding and mudslides brought about by the storm.

After reaching land in Mexico the maximum speeds dropped to 70 mph and all hurricane warnings were discontinued. However experts have warned that remnants from the storm could drift east and prove to be the catalyst for another storm of the coast of the United States, which could threaten Florida by this weekend.

A statement from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) read: “Global model guidance continues to suggest that Agatha’s remnants will become absorbed by a larger low-level cyclonic gyre over southeastern Mexico during the next couple of days, with that new system having development potential over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and southeastern Gulf of Mexico by late this week.”

How likely is it that a major storm could reach the US?

The NHC has identified a large-scale pattern of spinning winds, also known as a cyclonic gyre, off the coast of Mexico. They believe that there is about a 70% chance that this swirl of winds could meet with the remnants of Hurricane Agatha to create a tropical depression over the next five days.

Meteorologists are concerned that a tropical cyclone could form in the coming days, most likely to spawn somewhere between the Yucatán and the southern tip of Florida.

“Agatha’s remnants and the larger gyre will continue to cause heavy rains and potentially life-threatening flash floods over portions of southeastern Mexico over the next day or two,” the NHC said.

Although this would no longer technically be a part of Hurricane Agatha, there is a real possibility that the meteorological system could form into a tropical storm of its own. To become a named storm it would have to reach sustained wind speeds of at least 39 mph and form its own centre of circulation.

If that were to occur it would be the first of the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane season. CNN report that the storm would be called Alex.

The latest modelling from the US suggests that the system could approach the south of Florida this weekend but with little strength. However an alternative interpretation from European experts predicts a much more significant storm, slamming into southwestern Florida in the coming days. Before the storm forms a clear centre of circulation it is extremely difficult for analysts to predict its next stages.

“Tropical models do extremely well after a centre of low pressure is located by observations or satellite,” said meteorologist Chad Myers explains.

“This potential storm does not yet have a location on the map, and, at this point, the models are just guessing where it might form. It will take some more time, and later model runs to generate a potential track and size,” he adds.


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