The severe Hurricane Otis has swept through the popular Mexican beach destination of Acapulco as a powerful category 4 storm. The intense winds and heavy rainfall caused significant damage to hotels and forced tourists to seek shelter. The southern Pacific coast was hit hard by this destructive natural disaster.
Footage shared on social media depicted rooms destroyed in the aftermath of the hurricane, with ceilings and walls torn apart and vehicles partially submerged in floodwaters. As the state of Guerrero in the south woke up, residents were faced with the chaotic aftermath of the storm.
The president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, stated that there have been no reported fatalities at this time. However, he also mentioned that there is currently no communication with the impacted region.
Officials from Mexico’s civil protection department announced that there were widespread power failures in Guerrero. Additionally, flights to and from Acapulco were put on hold and educational activities were cancelled due to the effects of Otis, a highly potent storm that has made landfall on the Pacific coast of Mexico.
At approximately 6am local time, Otis was 60 miles (100km) north-north-west of Acapulco, having weakened rapidly as it moved inland. However, it was still blowing winds of 110mph, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said.
During the night, Otis rapidly transformed from a tropical storm into a highly dangerous category 5 hurricane. According to an NHC forecaster on Tuesday evening, a frightening situation is developing for southern Mexico as Otis quickly heads towards the coast.
The weather service stated that the approaching hurricane poses a grave threat to the Acapulco metropolitan area, with the most destructive part of the storm expected to pass over or near the city on Wednesday. They also noted that there have been no previous hurricanes of this magnitude in this region of Mexico.
López Obrador communicated through the platform X, previously known as Twitter, advising people to seek refuge in shelters and avoid being near bodies of water such as rivers and streams. He also urged them to remain vigilant and not become too complacent.
On Wednesday morning, the hurricane was reduced to a category 4 and is predicted to weaken within the next 24 hours. In the meantime, it is causing significant rain and flash floods, along with strong winds, across large parts of southern Mexico.
Authorities reported that Otis has the potential to cause severe damage in Guerrero and Oaxaca states, with up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain, mudslides, a significant storm surge, and dangerous surf and rip current hazards.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that the dangerous storm surge will persist along the southern coast of Mexico this morning in regions where there are onshore winds within the hurricane warning. Along the coast, the surge will be accompanied by significantly large and hazardous waves.
The national water agency of Mexico, Conagua, issued a warning about waves measuring between six to eight meters in Guerrero and certain areas of Oaxaca.
In Guerrero, officials have opened shelters for storm protection and the National Guard is prepared for rescue and evacuation efforts.
The defense department implemented an emergency strategy in preparation for the storm’s approaching, and military personnel were stationed on Acapulco’s deserted shores.