Hurricane Otis Leaves a Trail of Destruction in Acapulco

Hurricane Otis

Hurricane Otis, one of the most powerful storms to hit Mexico’s Pacific coast, slammed into the beach resort of Acapulco early on Wednesday, causing widespread damage and flooding. The Category 4 hurricane, which had intensified rapidly from a tropical storm in a matter of hours, brought torrential rain, high winds, and a potentially catastrophic storm surge to the southern state of Guerrero.

Hurricane Otis

Hotels Battered and Tourists Scramble for Safety

The hurricane’s eye passed near or just west of Acapulco, a popular tourist destination that was already struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and a surge in violence. Videos broadcast on social media showed rooms wrecked by the passing of the hurricane, ceilings and walls rent open and cars partly submerged in floodwaters. Some hotels lost power and water supply, while others had their windows shattered and roofs torn off.

Tourists who had come to enjoy the sunny beaches and nightlife of Acapulco were forced to seek shelter in their hotels or in storm shelters set up by the authorities. Many expressed fear and frustration as they waited for the storm to pass. Some said they had not been informed of the hurricane’s arrival or given enough time to prepare.

“I came here to have fun, not to die,” said Carlos Hernandez, a 25-year-old student from Mexico City who was staying at a hotel near the beach. “We didn’t know anything about this hurricane until yesterday. They should have warned us earlier.”

Power Outages and Flight Suspensions

The hurricane also caused power outages throughout Guerrero, affecting more than 800,000 customers, according to the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE). The CFE said it had deployed more than 1,500 workers and 500 vehicles to restore electricity as soon as possible.

Flights to and from Acapulco were suspended due to the storm, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the airport or unable to reach their destinations. The airport’s director, Alejandro Argudin, said that the terminal suffered minor damage and that operations would resume once the weather conditions improved.

Classes were also cancelled in Guerrero and neighboring Oaxaca state due to Otis, which was expected to bring heavy rainfall and flash flooding with hurricane-force winds into wide swathes of southern Mexico.

Otis Weakens Rapidly After Landfall

Otis weakened rapidly after making landfall, losing its hurricane status by midday on Wednesday. However, it was still blowing winds of 65 miles per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. The NHC said that Otis was expected to dissipate over the coming 24 hours as it moved further inland.

Otis could bring up to 20 inches of rain in parts of Guerrero and Oaxaca states, triggering mudslides, especially in higher terrain areas. The NHC also warned of a “potentially catastrophic” storm surge that could cause life-threatening coastal flooding near where Otis made landfall. Near the coast, the surge was accompanied by large and destructive waves.

Otis was the 15th named storm and the eighth hurricane of the 2023 Pacific hurricane season. It was also one of the strongest storms to hit Mexico’s Pacific coast, rivaling Hurricane Patricia in 2015, which made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane with winds of 150 miles per hour.

By Kane Wilson

Kane Wilson, founder of this news website, is a seasoned news editor renowned for his analytical skills and meticulous approach to storytelling. His journey in journalism began as a local reporter, and he quickly climbed the ranks due to his talent for unearthing compelling stories. Kane completed his Master’s degree in Media Studies from Northwestern University and spent several years in broadcast journalism prior to co-founding this platform. His dedication to delivering unbiased news and ability to present complex issues in an easily digestible format make him an influential voice in the industry.

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