OAN’s Stephanie Stahl
11:38 AM – Wednesday, October 25, 2023
Hurricane Otis made landfall in southern Mexico, quickly surging from a tropical storm to a Category 5 strength, the strongest to ever hit Mexico and the eastern Pacific.
On early Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) warned that the storm will likely bring “catastrophic damage” after its rapid transformation over the span of 24 hours.
The hurricane made landfall near Acapulco, a popular Mexican resort town and home to approximately 800,000 residents.
Initial reports from Acapulco depict widespread devastation from the high-speed winds and heavy rain.
Meteorologists define a storm as “rapidly intensifying” when its wind speed increases by 35 miles per hour within a 24-hour period. In the case of Hurricane Otis, the storm swiftly escalated from 50mph to over 120mph in just 24 hours.
The NHC reported that the storm maintained maximum sustained wind speeds of 110mph, and it could potentially strengthen further as it moves into higher altitude regions farther inland.
Forecasts anticipate up to 20 inches of rainfall through Thursday, and the NHC has issued warnings of potential flash floods, urban inundation, and mudslides, particularly in elevated terrains.
The forecasting center also highlighted the ongoing threats of life-threatening storm surges and hazardous waves along the southern Mexican coastline throughout the day.
According to Mexico’s president, Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador, the government has received no reports of casualties. However, all communication systems in the affected area are currently offline, including those connecting with emergency response teams on the ground.
National Coordinator of Civil Protection Laura Velázquez said in an interview that they don’t have a “damage assessment” yet due to the communication difficulties with Acapulco.
Velázquez reiterated that there is no further information regarding injured or missing people as all communication systems are currently down, including the systems used by the Navy.
However, President Obrador did say that there are reports of material damage and blocked roads.
“The highway to Acapulco is blocked by landslides,” he said. “Today we will continue with the rescue efforts for the ones affected.”
He added that there are currently no viable options for flying to Acapulco to assess the damage, emphasizing the necessity of waiting for the storm to pass.
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