At least 73 people are dead after tropical storm Agatha hit Central America Saturday night, reports Agence France-Presse. This is the season's first tropical storm but will not become a hurricane, says the Accuweather weather service.
"As of the moment, we have counted 73 people killed throughout the country, the majority from landslides," David de Leon, chief of Conred, the Guatamalan emergency management agency, told AFP.
At least 74,000 people have been evacuated in Guatemala and 5,000 in El Salvador according to a Reuters report. Both countries have multiple people missing but exact numbers are not set due to the state of confusion in both areas caused by the storm.
Heavy rains are forecast to continue in parts of Guatemala, El Salvador, and western Honduras generating fears of added mudslides. AccuWeather predicts another 20 inches of rain in some parts and up to 30 in others. Meteorologists measured winds at 45 miles per hour at the height of the storm with a northeastern movement of 7 miles per hour.
Guatemala has been hard hit by tropical storm Agatha. The country extended its state of emergency since Thursday following as eruption from the Pacaya Volcano that covered the city in ash forcing the main airport to close. When volcanic ash mixes with water it can form a cement-like mud causing serious problems for citizens.
The heavy rains are also impacting coffee plantations in Guatemala and El Salvador, but the extent of the damage is not yet known. A tropical storm warning is still active for El Salvador, Guatemala, as well as part of Mexico.
AccuWeather utilized their computer model guidance program to find a likely future path for the storm. Their model predicts a northeastern path for the storm that would have it heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and parts of Florida, which combined with the BP oil spill disaster could result in an even heavier blow to the region.