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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Otis makes landfall near Acapulco as ‘catastrophic’ hurricane

By Derrick Bryson Taylor

When Hurricane Otis made landfall near Acapulco, Mexico as a Category 5 hurricane early Wednesday, it created a “nightmare scenario” for a large portion of the country, weather experts said. But the storm was expected to quickly weaken as it moved over higher terrain.

The storm, which had rapidly intensified and was producing maximum sustained winds of 165 mph at landfall, was moving inland over southern Mexico.

It was expected to dissipate over the southern half of the country by nightfall. By around 6 a.m. local time, the storm had weakened to a Category 2.

Although a hurricane warning was in effect for Punta Maldonado westward to Zihuatanejo early Wednesday, much of the concern was on the wind, storm surge and intense rainfall.

Forecasters said that Otis would have “extremely destructive winds” near the storm’s eye and that winds would affect the upper floors of high-rise buildings more significantly than those near the ground level.

Life-threatening storm surge will continue along the coast of southern Mexico, forecasters said, and parts of Guerrero and Oaxaca states could experience rainfall totals up to 20 inches through Thursday. That could produce flash flooding along with mudslides in areas of higher terrain.

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