Tropical Storm Otto brews up in western Caribbean

Life-threatening floods expected across Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

by
     The slow moving storm is expected to dump vast amounts of rainfall across southern parts of Central America [Al Jazeera]
    The slow moving storm is expected to dump vast amounts of rainfall across southern parts of Central America [Al Jazeera]

    Tropical Storm Otto has developed in the western Caribbean and, according to the National Hurricane Centre, could develop into a hurricane by Wednesday.

    In yet another nod towards climate change, the storm has developed over very warm waters - sea surface temperatures of 29C are about 1C above average - and a tropical system this far south of the region is a rare event.

    If Otto does become a hurricane, and makes landfall across southern Nicaragua or even Costa Rica, it could become the southernmost hurricane landfall on record in Central America.

    Otto threatens to bring life-threatening flash floods and mudslides to parts of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

    The storm is about 500km southeast of Nicaragua and is staggering towards the coast at around 4km/h.

    The system has sustained winds of 95km/h, but it is expected to strengthen over the next 24 hours.

    Torrential downpours

    Some computer models, including the UKMET and The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, do not predict strengthening beyond a strong tropical storm or perhaps a weak hurricane.

    Either way, torrential downpours are likely to be the main hazard.

    The slow movement of the storm means that vast amounts of rainfall are expected across the area.

    Accumulations of up to 150mm of rain are probable across a wide area, but totals could approach 250 to 375mm of rain over the higher ground.

    The widespread flooding is likely by Thursday as Otto approaches the Caribbean coast near the border of Nicaragua and Costa Rica, where landfall is currently expected on Thursday afternoon or evening.

    Current projections then see the storm moving into the eastern Pacific on Friday as a tropical depression.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We will cut your throats': The anatomy of Greece's lynch mobs

    The brutality of Greece's racist lynch mobs

    With anti-migrant violence hitting a fever pitch, victims ask why Greek authorities have carried out so few arrests.

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    The rise of Pakistan's 'burger' generation

    How a homegrown burger joint pioneered a food revolution and decades later gave a young, politicised class its identity.

    From Cameroon to US-Mexico border: 'We saw corpses along the way'

    'We saw corpses along the way'

    Kombo Yannick is one of the many African asylum seekers braving the longer Latin America route to the US.