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Agatha becomes first hurricane of 2022 season

Agatha became the first hurricane of the 2022 season Sunday, gaining strength as it spins toward Mexico. Agatha is expected to continue gaining strength over the next day and is "forecast to be near major hurricane strength when it reaches the coast of southern Mexico on Monday," the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 5 p.m. ET, Agatha was located about 185 miles southwest of Puerto Angel, Mexico. It had maximum sustained winds of 110 mph and was moving northeast at 1 mph. It was expected to gain speed and continue moving northeast throughout Sunday, the NHC said.

Because the storm's current path would carry it over the narrow waist of Mexico's isthmus, the center said there was a chance the storm's remnants could reemerge over the Gulf of Mexico.  

Hurricane warnings were in effect from the port of Salina Cruz to the Lagunas de Chacahua, NHC said.

Tropical Storm Agatha is seen off Mexico's Pacific coast on May 28, 2022, in this NOAA satellite image. NOAA

Agatha is predicted to dump 10-16 inches of rain on Oaxaca, while Chipias could see 5-10 inches, the NHC said. The center also warned of possible life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides throughout the region.

The civil defense office in Oaxaca said the hurricane's outer bands were already hitting the coast. The office published photos of fishermen hauling their boats up on beaches to protect them from the storm.

The government's Mexican Turtle Center — a former slaughterhouse turned conservation center in Mazunte — announced it was closed to visitors until further notice because of the hurricane.

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