Tropical Storm Agatha (2010)
|Tropical storm (SSHS)|
|Satellite image of Tropical Storm Agatha on May 29|
|Formed||May 29, 2010|
|Dissipated||May 30, 2010|
|Highest winds||1-minute sustained:
45 mph (75 km/h)
|Lowest pressure||1001 mbar (hPa); 29.56 inHg|
|Fatalities||190 direct, 47 missing|
|Damage||$1.1 billion (2010 USD)|
|Areas affected||Central America; especially Guatemala|
|Part of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season|
Tropical Storm Agatha was a weak but catastrophic tropical cyclone that brought widespread floods to much of Central America, and was the deadliest tropical cyclone in the eastern Pacific since Hurricane Pauline in 1997. The first storm of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season, Agatha originated from the Intertropical Convergence Zone, a region of thunderstorms across the tropics. It developed into a tropical depression on May 29 and tropical storm later, it was dissipated on May 30, reaching top winds of 45 mph (75 km/h) and a lowest pressure of 1000 mbar (hPa; 29.53 inHg). It made landfall near the Guatemala–Mexico border on the evening of May 29. Agatha produced torrential rain all across Central America, which resulted in the death of one person in Nicaragua. In Guatemala, 152 people were killed and 100 left missing by landslides. Thirteen deaths also occurred in El Salvador. Agatha soon dissipated over Guatemala. As of June 15, officials in Guatemala have stated that 165 people were killed and 113 others are missing.
Meteorological history 
Tropical Storm Agatha originated from an area of convection, or thunderstorms, that developed on May 24, off the west coast of Costa Rica. At the time, there was a trough in the region that extended into the southwestern Caribbean Sea, associated with the Intertropical Convergence Zone. The system drifted northwestward, and conditions favored further development. On May 25, the convection became more concentrated, and the National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted the potential for a tropical depression to develop. The next day, it briefly became disorganized, as its circulation was broad and elongated; however, the disturbance was in a very moist environment, and multiple low level centers gradually organized into one. The low continued to get better organized; however, there was a lack of a well-defined circulation. On May 29, after further organization of the circulation and convection, the NHC initiated advisories on Tropical Depression One-E while the system was located about 295 miles (475 km) west of San Salvador, El Salvador.
Upon becoming a tropical cyclone, the system was located in an environment with little wind shear and waters of 30 °C (86 °F). As such, it was expected to strengthen, although the mountainous terrain of the Central American coastline limited significant intensification. The depression moved slowly northeastward around the western periphery of a ridge located over northern South America. Several hours later, satellites monitoring the system discovered tropical storm-force winds, prompting the NHC to upgrade the depression to Tropical Storm Agatha. Around this time, it was noted that there was a 40% chance of the system undergoing rapid intensification within the following 24 hours as the only limiting factor was its proximity to land. However, the storm failed to intensify much, peaking in intensity with winds of 45 mph (75 km/h) and a barometric pressure of 1000 mbar (hPa; 29.53 inHg). Within two hours of reaching this strength, Agatha abruptly relocated northward and made landfall near the Guatemala-Mexico border.
After landfall, Agatha continued to cause floods and landslides, however it did not bring a lot of tropical storm force winds on shore. The system weakened quickly after coming on shore, dropping its winds to 25 mph (20 knots, 40 km/h) and its pressure to 1007 mbar (hPa; 29.74 inHg) before dissipating. A burst of convection re-emerged east of Belize, in the Atlantic basin, on May 31. On June 1, the National Hurricane Center stated that the remnants of Tropical Storm Agatha had only a low chance of regeneration in the western Caribbean Sea. By the next day, the thunderstorm activity associated with Agatha in the western Caribbean had dissipated. However, the remnants of Tropical Storm Agatha persisted until June 6, causing death and destruction over Central America. On June 6, the remnants of Tropical Storm Agatha dissipated completely, after ravaging the Honduras and El Salvador.
As a developing tropical disturbance, the system produced heavy rainfall for several days along the Pacific coastline from Nicaragua to the Gulf of Tehuantepec, with the possibility of life-threatening flash floods and mudslides. Upon becoming a tropical cyclone, a tropical storm warning was issued for the coast of El Salvador and Guatemala. In addition, Agatha was noted to have the potential for 250 to 500 mm (9.8 to 20 in) of rain in. Officials in Guatemala expected flooding from the storm to be more severe than the flooding that killed nine people a week before Agatha. Further north in Mexico, meteorologists predicted that Agatha would produce up to 100 mm (3.9 in) of rain in the southern states. Throughout El Salvador and Nicaragua, emergency officials evacuated about 2,000 residents due to the threat of flash flooding. In response to the approaching storm, a yellow alert was declared for all of El Salvador and it was estimated that roughly 89% of the country was at risk from flooding. Roughly 52,000 police, emergency rescue personnel and soldiers were placed on standby by the Dirección General de Protección Civil.
|El Salvador||12||$112.1 million|
Prior to becoming a tropical depression, the system produced torrential rainfall in Nicaragua, resulting in the death of one person after she was swept away by a swollen river. Many homes and bridges were destroyed across the country. In Estelí Department, the Nicaraguan Air Force had to rescue 24 people trapped in their homes.
Two days before landfall, on May 27 the Pacaya volcano, roughly 25 mi (40 km) south of Guatemala City, erupted, killing one person and forcing over 2,000 people to evacuate, and causing the temporary closing of the main international airport. Excessive rainfall from Agatha in the region could exacerbate the situation and trigger lahars. However, people working in coffee fields considered the rain brought by the storm to be helpful, removing ash from their trees. According to meteorologists in Guatemala, at least 14 in (360 mm) of rain had fallen by the evening of May 29. Several landslides blocked roadways across southern areas of the country, hindering traffic. Following the storm, a three-story building was swallowed by a 30-meter (100-ft) diameter sinkhole caused by Agatha's rainfall.
A mudslide coming down the Agua volcano left 9 deaths and 12 disappeared in the town of San Miguel Escobar. In the town of Almolonga, department of Quetzaltenango, a mudslide triggered by the storm killed four people after destroying their home, and in total twelve people were killed in Guatemala, while another landslide left 11 people missing.
Officials in the country declared a state of emergency during the afternoon of May 29 as conditions worsened. Many rivers in the country were already swollen and close to over-topping their banks. Many other homes were destroyed in widespread floods and dozens of emergency rescues had to be made. In a press report, President Álvaro Colom stated that, "We believe Agatha could wreak more damage in the country than Hurricane Mitch and Hurricane Stan". These storms were two of the most devastating tropical cyclones to impact the country, killing 384 and 1,513 people respectively.
By the afternoon of May 30, reports from the region stated that 15 people had been killed and 22 others were missing throughout Guatemala. Preliminary damage assessments showed that at least 3,500 homes were damaged. A total of 112,000 people were evacuated. Additionally, at least 20,000 people have been left homeless as a result of the storm. Some areas recorded the heaviest rainfall in over 60 years, measuring more than 36 in (910 mm). This also ranks Agatha as the wettest known tropical cyclone to ever strike the country, surpassing Hurricane Mitch. By the next day, the death toll had risen to 92, with another 95 people injured.
In Guatemala City, a sinkhole 30 stories deep collapsed, killing 15 people and placing a further 300 residents in danger. A three-story house and telephone poles were also swallowed, along wiht a security guard. The sinkhole was formed due to sewage pipes leaking, and flooding from Agatha only exacerbated the problem.
|Storm||Season||Cost (2013 USD)|
|Main article: List of Pacific hurricanes|
Throughout southern Mexico, Agatha produced strong winds and heavy rain, as well as high waves, estimated between 2 and 4 m (6.6 and 13 ft) high. At least 120 families were evacuated from southeastern Chiapas, near where the storm made landfall. A yellow alert was also declared for the state as significant flooding was anticipated.
After moving inland over Guatemala and Mexico, torrential rains from the remnants of Agatha triggered flash flooding and landslides in parts of Honduras. At least 45 homes have been destroyed and one person was killed in the country. On May 31, the presidents of both El Salvador and Honduras declared a state of emergency for their respective countries.
El Salvador 
In El Salvador, widespread flooding took place as heavy rains fell across the country. Throughout San Salvador and five other cities threatened by flooding, emergency officials urged residents to evacuate to shelters. A total of 140 landslides occurred. The highest known rainfall total in the country was 400 mm (15.7 in); however, further rains have fallen since this total was reported. A total of six people were killed in the country. At least two other people are reported missing in the country. By May 30, President Mauricio Funes declared a country-wide state of emergency due to the widespread damage caused by Agatha. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, a total of 12 people were killed by Agatha throughout El Salvador and roughly 120,000 individuals were affected across 116 municipalities. At one point, more than 15,000 people were housed in emergency shelters; however, by June 9, this number decreased to just 712. A total of 3,162 acres (12.80 km2) of farmland was flooded by the storm, leaving $6 million in losses. Unlike Guatemala which suffered extreme damage in its educational sector, most schools in El Salvador were functional after the storm's passage. Of the 378 schools affected, 63 sustained severe damage. Overall, Agatha wrought $31.1 million in damage across El Salvador.
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