Tropical Storm Otto five-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA -- After several days of threatening to become a tropical cyclone right at the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Otto has formed in the Caribbean about 190 miles (305 km) east-southeast of San Andres Island and about 315 miles (505 km) east of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 400 pm EST on Monday, the centre of Tropical Storm Otto was nearly stationary, and a generally westward drift is expected over the next couple of days.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts. Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Otto could become a hurricane in a couple of days.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles (55 km) from the centre.
There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.
Interests in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the islands of San Andres and Providencia should monitor the progress of Otto. A tropical storm watch may be required for San Andres on Monday night or early Tuesday.
Outer rain bands from Otto are expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 3 to 6 inches across portions of central and western Panama and southeastern Costa Rica through Wednesday, with isolated totals upwards of 10 to 15 inches across the higher terrain. These rains could result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Additional heavy rainfall may move into portions of Costa Rica on Wednesday night into Thursday as the system approaches the coast.