Hurricane Otis slams into Mexico as a Category 5 storm


Hurricane Otis, the strongest storm on record to hit Mexico, made landfall near Acapulco early Wednesday morning as a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 165 mph. The storm caused widespread damage and flooding along the coast and inland areas, and forced thousands of people to evacuate to emergency shelters.


Otis rapidly intensified before landfall

Otis underwent a remarkable rapid intensification on Tuesday, going from a tropical storm to a major hurricane in just a matter of hours. It was the fastest strengthening on record in the northeast Pacific Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). Otis reached Category 5 status by Tuesday evening, with a well-defined eye and a symmetrical structure.

The storm was fueled by very warm sea surface temperatures, low wind shear, and high moisture content in the atmosphere. These conditions allowed Otis to develop a powerful inner core that sustained its intensity until landfall. Otis was also moving over an area of high ocean heat content, which provided additional energy for the storm.

Otis made landfall around 1 a.m. local time near Acapulco, a popular tourist destination with a population of about one million. The storm brought devastating winds, torrential rain, and storm surge to the city and surrounding areas. The NHC warned of “catastrophic” damage and urged people to move to safe locations.

Otis caused widespread damage and flooding

The impact of Otis was felt across the southern Pacific coast of Mexico, where many homes, businesses, and infrastructure were damaged or destroyed by the storm. The wind gusts were strong enough to topple trees, power lines, and billboards, and rip off roofs and windows. The storm surge flooded coastal roads and buildings, and eroded beaches and dunes.

The rainfall from Otis was also extreme, with some areas receiving up to 20 inches of rain in less than 24 hours. The heavy rain triggered flash flooding and landslides in the mountainous regions of Guerrero and Oaxaca states, where many communities were isolated by mud and debris. The rain also caused rivers and streams to overflow their banks, inundating low-lying areas and agricultural fields.

The Mexican government deployed more than 8,000 troops from the army and navy to assist in rescue and relief operations. They used specialized equipment such as helicopters, boats, and trucks to reach the affected areas and deliver food, water, and medical supplies. They also helped evacuate people from dangerous locations and transport them to shelters.

Otis weakened after landfall but still posed a threat

As Otis moved inland over Mexico, it quickly weakened due to friction and interaction with the rugged terrain. By Wednesday evening, it had dissipated into a remnant low pressure system over southern Mexico. However, the remnants of Otis still posed a threat of heavy rain and flooding in some parts of Mexico and Central America.

The NHC said that the remnants of Otis could produce an additional 2 to 4 inches of rain over southern Mexico through Thursday, with isolated amounts up to 6 inches. This could cause more flash flooding and mudslides in areas already saturated by the storm. The NHC also said that some moisture from Otis could enhance rainfall over parts of Central America, especially over El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama.

Hurricane Otis was the 15th named storm, 9th hurricane, and 6th major hurricane of the 2023 Pacific hurricane season. It was also the first Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in Mexico since Patricia in 2015, which was the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the Western Hemisphere.

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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