Hurricane Otto three-day forecast track. NHC/NOAA graphic
By Caribbean News Now contributor
MIAMI, USA -- Late-season tropical cyclone Otto strengthened into a hurricane on Tuesday and a hurricane warning could be required for portions of the coast of Nicaragua or Costa Rica later Tuesday night or early Wednesday.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, at 4:00 pm EST on Tuesday, the centre of Hurricane Otto was located about 305 miles (485 km) east-southeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua, and about 235 miles (375 km) east of Limon, Costa Rica, moving towards the west near 2 mph (4 km/h).
Otto should move a little faster toward the west or west-northwest for the next couple of days and, on the forecast track, Otto is expected to approach the coasts of Costa Rica and Nicaragua on Thursday. Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening is expected for the next couple of days until landfall. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 10 miles (20 km) from the centre and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 70 miles (110 km).
The government of Colombia has issued a tropical storm warning for San Andres Island and the government of Nicaragua has issued a tropical storm watch for Nicaragua from Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi.
A hurricane watch is in effect for Costa Rica/Panama border to south of Bluefields and a tropical storm warning is in effect for Nargana to Colon, and San Andres. A tropical storm watch is in effect for west of Colon to the Costa Rica/Panama border.
Interests elsewhere in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Providencia Island should monitor the progress of Otto.
Outer rain bands from Otto are expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over San Andres and Providencia islands, and the higher terrain of central and western Panama and southern Costa Rica through Wednesday. Total rainfall of 6 to 12 inches, with isolated amounts of 15 to 20 inches, can be expected across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua through Thursday. These rains will likely result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area in Panama on Tuesday night and are possible in the tropical storm watch area in Panama on Wednesday. Tropical storm conditions are expected in San Andres by late Wednesday. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area on Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the tropical storm watch area in Nicaragua on Thursday.
Swells generated by Otto are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions over the next several days along the coasts of Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua.