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Agatha Drenches Guatemala, El Salvador, Remnants Now In Caribbean

June 2, 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha was the first tropical storm of the Eastern Pacific hurricane season, and took an inland route, drenching El Salvador and Guatemala this past weekend.

By Tuesday, June 1, Agatha’s remnants had moved into the northwestern Caribbean Sea east of the Yucatan peninsula. Environmental conditions in the area, however, likely won’t permit Agatha to reform into a tropical cyclone.

Over the weekend, by Sunday, May 30, Tropical Storm Agatha had already moved inland and its heavy rains left more than 100 people dead in Guatemala and El Salvador. Those rains caused flash floods and mudslides. After Agatha made landfall, the storm had been downgraded to a tropical depression.

The government in El Salvador declared a state of emergency. In Guatemala, flash floods and mudslides created by Agatha’s rains forced more than 70,000 people from their homes.

On Monday, May 31, Agatha’s maximum sustained winds decreased to 30 miles (46 kilometers) per hour as her remnants crossed Guatemala’s western highlands and were headed into the Gulf of Mexico.

NASA’s Aqua satellite flew over Tropical Depression Agatha and the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument onboard captured an infrared image on May 31 at 3:29 a.m. EDT (7:29 UTC). Agatha appeared as stretched out over Central America from the Eastern Pacific Ocean east into the Gulf of Mexico.

By June 1, Agatha’s remnants had moved into the northwestern Caribbean Sea, and were located just east of the Yucatan peninsula. The remnants were still producing intermittent showers and thunderstorms. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) noted that “Upper-level winds…particularly to the north of the system in the Gulf of Mexico are not conducive for development.” As a result of the poor atmospheric conditions, the NHC only give Agatha a meager ten percent chance of becoming tropical once again.

Image Caption: NASA’s Aqua satellite AIRS instrument captured Tropical Depression Agatha on May 31 at 3:29 a.m. EDT (7:29 UTC). Agatha appears as the stretched out blue areas over Central America. Credit: NASA JPL, Ed Olsen

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