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Tropical Storm Agatha expected to become "potentially life-threatening" hurricane off Mexico's Pacific coast

2022 Atlantic hurricane season forecast
NOAA predicts above-average 2022 Atlantic hurricane season 00:35

Agatha, the first tropical storm of the 2022 hurricane season in the Pacific, formed Saturday off Mexico's southern coast.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Agatha is expected to become a hurricane and head towards land, adding that the storm could produce "potentially life-threatening" floods and mudslides.

On Saturday morning, the center of the tropical storm was located about 220 miles southwest of Puerto Angel, with winds of 45 mph.

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

The storm was moving west at 5 mph, but was expected to take a turn northward.

A hurricane watch was issued for parts of the coast of the southern state of Oaxaca, where Agatha could make landfall by Tuesday.

While the storm could pack winds as high as 100 mph at landfall, the center cited the risk of "potentially life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides" as its rains pound the mountainous terrain of Oaxaca.

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 re-emerge over the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier this week, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a below-normal 2022 season for hurricanes in the eastern Pacific Ocean.

By contrast, NOAA predicted the 2022 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean will produce above-average activity, with a likely range of more than 20 named storms to occur. This hurricane season — which starts June 1 and runs through Nov. 30 — could be the seventh consecutively above-average hurricane season, according to the NOAA's Climate Prediction Center. 

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