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Survivors flee wrath of tropical storm

Thousands of homes damaged as record rain, floods, mudslides pummel Central America


At least 100 people were killed and more than 10,000 others were in shelters as the first tropical storm of the Pacific hurricane season spun itself out over Central America Monday afternoon.

Tropical Storm Agatha dissipated over western Guatemala, after dumping record rainfall over El Salvador, Honduras and southern Mexico, where mudslides and flash flooding destroyed thousands of homes. It was the most rain to fall in a half-day period in Guatemala since 1949.

As international aid for disaster survivors began to arrive, Honduras and El Salvador both declared states of emergency.

The storm struck as forecasters across the Atlantic basis where warning this year’s hurricane season may be one of the worst in years. Forecasters say that as many as 14 tropical storms may form during the next five months.

"This could be the worst hurricane season in the last 50 years," said Paco Maldonado, coordinator for the Pan-American disaster response unit of International Federation of Red Cross in a telephone interview with Reuters.

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