Hurricane Otis: Mexico faces ‘catastrophic’ storm as it makes landfall

Hurricane Otis has become a “potentially catastrophic” Category 5 storm as it approaches the Pacific coast of southern Mexico, US meteorologists warn. The storm’s winds have now increased to near nearly mph (260 km/h), the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says. Otis is expected to make landfall near the resort of Acapulco early Wednesday, bringing “destructive waves” and heavy flooding in coastal areas. The NHC warns of a “potentially catastrophic storm surge” that could produce life-threatening coastal flooding near and to the east of where the center makes landfall. “Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” the NHC said.

Hurricane Otis

Mexico braces for impact

Ahead of the hurricane’s arrival, Mexico’s authorities have been preparing emergency shelters and evacuating people from vulnerable areas. School classes across the state of Guerrero have also been canceled. In Acapulco, soldiers have been patrolling the beach area and urging people to stay indoors. The Mexican army is on standby to assist with rescue and relief operations. The governor of Guerrero, Hector Astudillo, said that Otis was “the most dangerous hurricane in history” for the state and urged people to take precautions. “We are facing a very serious situation,” he said.

Otis follows previous storms

Parts of Mexico’s Pacific coastline have already seen significant flooding earlier this month after Tropical Storm Max hit. Local media reported two deaths as a result of the storm in Guerrero. A few days later, one man was reported killed after powerful Hurricane Lidia made landfall in the state of Nayarit, north-west of Guerrero. Otis is the 15th named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30. According to the NHC, Otis is expected to weaken rapidly after landfall and dissipate over the mountains of central Mexico by Thursday.

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