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Sunday, May 30, 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha lands Guatemala a one - two punch

UPDATE: The death toll from Tropical Storm Agatha has increased to 63. Swollen rivers and mudslides were the primary causes for the deaths. Deaths were also reported in Honduras and El Salvador.

Guatemala death toll from Agatha rises to 63 (Arab News)
GUATEMALA CITY: At least 63 people are confirmed dead in Guatemala after Tropical Storm Agatha slammed the country, government officials said on Sunday. Chimaltenango Department Governor Erick De Leon told Reuters there were 50 deaths in his jurisdiction that had not previously been reported by the national government.

Chimaltenango is about 35 miles (60 km) west of the capital, Guatemala City.

Guatemalan emergency officials previously reported the confirmed death toll at 13.

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Tropical Storm Agatha made landfall Saturday night brings much destruction and death to the Central American nation. Agatha struck land as a tropical storm and quickly weakened to a tropical depression but the danger from Agatha is not due to winds but to the rain.

Agatha's heavy rain caused severe flooding and mudslides. Adding to the destruction was the fact that Pacaya Volcano erupted just a few days earlier covering the area in ash. Adding water to the ash created a heavy thick mud.

Deadly Agatha Pounds Guatemala, El Salvador (AccuWeather)

Flooding and mudslides have left at least a dozen people dead in Guatemala and El Salvador. Agatha, as a tropical storm, made landfall in southern Guatemala Saturday night.

Tropical Rainstorm Agatha will continue to dump heavy rain across Guatemala, as well as neighboring El Salvador even though it has dissipated.

To make matters worse, the Pacaya Volcano erupted late last week, coating Guatemala City in ash. When the rain mixes with ash, it creates a cementlike mud. Ash accumulated up to 3 inches in parts of the city of 3 million. Guatemala's main airport has been closed since Thursday.

So far, at least 15 people have been killed, including 4 children who were buried in a mudslide that crushed their home.

Tropical Storm Agatha Kills 15 in Guatemala (Gather)

Tropical Storm Agatha left a path of death and destruction, killing 15 people as it tore through Guatemala Sunday. Officials say the death toll will likely rise.

Tropical Storm Agatha made landfall near the border of Guatemala and Mexico on Saturday as a tropical storm with wind speeds of up to 45 mph, It then weakened into a tropical depression before dissipating over the mountains of western Guatemala.

Even though Agatha is now just a remnant tropical rainstorm, the amount of rainfall will continue to be devastating to the region. One of the worst situations is heavy rainfall in a mountainous region from a slow moving or stationary storm system. Right now this is what Agatha is bringing to the people of Central America.

Deadly storm strikes Guatemala (Al Jazeera)

A powerful tropical storm has struck Guatemala, bringing torrential rains that have added to the disruption caused by an erupting volcano.

Agatha, the season's first tropical storm, has killed at least 12 people and left 11 people missing, as rain, mudslides and floods forced more than 3,000 people to to flee their homes, officials have said.

The torrential rains are complicating efforts to clear up ash from the Pacaya Volcano, which began erupting on Thursday, covering Guatemala City with ash and forcing the closure of the capital's international airport.

Agatha - the first named storm of the Pacific Hurricane season - is expected to dump at least 75cm of rain on Guatemala, as well as El Salvador and southeastern Mexico.

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