Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

A “NIGHTMARE” hurricane slammed into Mexico’s southern Pacific coast early this morning, threatening to bring deadly chaos.

Hurricane Otis left people little time to prepare after rapidly intensifying from a tropical storm into a Category 5 hurricane in just 12 hours.

ReutersSoldiers keep watch at a beach as the hurricane barrelled towards Acapulco yesterday[/caption]

Twitter / Colin McCarthyIn the eye of the ‘nightmare’ storm is ‘extremely destructive’ 165mph winds[/caption]

Otis has already caused heavy flooding and serious damage to the city of AcapulcoTwitter/SolChilpancingo

The hurricane made landfall at around 12.25am local time – unleashing the full force of its 165mph winds, heavy rains and powerful waves on the beach resort city of Acapulco and surrounding towns.

Forecasters have predicted a “nightmare scenario” for the 350km-long stretch of coast where Otis made landfall.

Residents of Guerrero’s coast scrambled to get emergency shelters ready, but the Otis’ sudden intensity appeared to catch many off guard.

“We’re on maximum alert,” Acapulco Mayor Abelina Lpez said last night as she urged residents to hunker down at home or move to the city’s shelters.

Schools have been cancelled and soldiers are patrolling beaches.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) added: “This is an extremely serious situation for the Acapulco metropolitan area with the core of the destructive hurricane likely to come near or over that large city early on Wednesday,”

Acapulco is a city of more than one million people, where both luxury homes and slums alike cover the city’s hillsides with views of the Pacific.

The NHC fears that the “extremely destructive” winds at the centre of the Otis could wreak havoc on the city and surrounding areas, CNN reports.

Already, local media is reporting that Otis’ intense rains and winds have already led to flooding and damage in Acapulco, with roofs pictured completely ripped off.

Between the internationally known resorts of Acapulco and Zihuatanejo are two dozen small towns and villages perched between the mountains and the ocean.

Otis is forecast to create a storm surge, whipping up “large and destructive waves” that could be life-threatening to these unprotected coastal areas where it made landfall.

The hurricane is expected to weaken as it moves inland and over Guerrero state’s steep mountains.

However, its expected heavy rains of 8 to 17 inches will likely raise the threat of landslides and floods.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador urged people to move away from the sea, rivers and ravines and into emergency shelters.

There are fears that Otis could be more devastating than Hurricane Pauline that hit Acapulco in 1997.

The storm destroyed huge parts of the city and killed more than 200 people.

Hundreds of others were injured in flooding and mudslides that followed.

Guerrero is one of Mexico’s most impoverished and violent states.

On Monday, a local police chief and 12 police officers were massacred and found on a highway in El Papayo – not far from Hurricane Otis’ impact zone.

Otis’ arrival came just days after Hurricane Norma struck the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula to the north.

Meanwhile in the Atlantic, Hurricane Tammy continued moving northeastward over open water with winds of 85 mph close to Bermuda.

The storm is expected to become a powerful extra-tropical cyclone by Thursday, according to the NHC.

ReutersHeavy rains descend on Mexico’s southern coastal communities ahead of Otis’ landfall[/caption]

APA view from space of what the rapidly intensifying hurricane looks like[/caption]

ReutersPeople leaving and packing up the beach as the hurricane makes it way towards them[/caption]

ReutersSandbags are being used as a defence to the powerful waves forecast[/caption]

APResidents of Guerrero had little time to prepare after Otis turned from a storm into a category 5 hurricane in 12 hours[/caption]

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