|Hurricane Otto just before landfall Thursday.|
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Dangerous Hurricane Otto Making Landfall in Nicaragua, Costa Rica
As I write this, Hurricane Otto's eye was coming ashore near the Nicaragua and Costa Rican border as a ferocious storm with 110 mph sustained winds.
This part of the world is not used to such strong hurricanes, so this could really be a disaster.
Otto is an odd one. It's the strongest hurricane on record to strike this far to the southwest. It's below the latitude of the northern reaches of South America, so this is something.
Otto is also the strongest Atlantic hurricane since 1934 to form this late in the season. In the relatively rare cases when tropical storms get going late in November, they're usually pretty lame.
However, Otto is a beast.
Just before 1 p.m. today, the eye of Otto made landfall on the extreme southern coast of Nicaragua near the town of San Juan De Nicaragua, says the National Hurricane Center.
There is surely devastating winds and storm surges going on there and in northern Costa Rica. As Otto makes its way inland, torrential rains will cause terrible flash floods and mudslides.
Otto will eventually emerge into the Pacific Ocean as a tropical storm, but strong upper level winds there will finish it off, making it just a remnant, weak swirl within a few days.
Otto was already killing people and causing serious damage well before coming ashore. Three people died in Panama with the outer fringes of Otto. Two died in a rain-caused landslide, and a child died when a tree fell on a car.
See Panama landslide footage at the bottom of this post.
The governments of Nicaragua and Costa Rica evacuated tens of thousands of people away from the coastline, so we hope that will minimize the number of deaths Otto causes.
Here's that terrifying video of the Panama landslide: