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May 31, 2010

Tropical Storm Agatha kills in Central America

The Atlantic hurricane season opened with a bang even before its due date of June first. The season’s first system, Tropical Storm Agatha, formed last week and is responsible for the deaths of a hundred and forty two people in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The storm also left thousands homeless and dozens are still missing as emergency crews struggle to reach isolated communities cut off by washed-out roads and collapsed bridges.  The hardest-hit country was Guatemala, where one hundred and eighteen people were killed and fifty three are still missing.  Rescue efforts are complicated by a volcanic eruption last Thursday, which blanketed parts of the area with ash and closed the country’s main airport.  In El Salvador, close to a hundred and eighty landslides have been reported and eleven thousand people were evacuated. The death toll there was nine.  About ninety-five percent of the country’s roads were affected by landslides, but remain open.  Agatha made landfall near the Guatemala-Mexico border Saturday as a tropical storm with winds up to forty five miles per hour. It dissipated the following day over the mountains of western Guatemala.

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