Hurricane Otis hits Acapulco

Hurricane Otis hits Acapulco

Tropical cyclones are the most predictable weather phenomena. Every year, seasonal forecasts are published in a report that takes into account their possible frequency, behavior, and the potential to become hurricanes.

However, there is always a certain percentage of uncertainty in estimates.

What is a Hurricane Otis?

On October 24, it was a tropical storm, and the next day, Hurricane Otis unexpectedly went from category 1 to category 5. The hurricane’s impact on Acapulco’s infrastructure was devastating and unprecedented.

There is no record of any hurricane of this intensity in this part of Mexico – states the Central Pacific Hurricane Center, an agency dependent on the Office of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Where did Hurricane Otis impact?

At noon on Tuesday, October 24, Otis was a tropical storm. It took 9 hours for its intensity to reach its maximum point and become a category 5 hurricane. The devastating cyclone made landfall on the Acapulco coast.

Hurricane Otis went from category 1 to category 5 in just 24 hours.

Hurricane Otis was the first hurricane on the Mexican Pacific coast to make landfall at category 5 intensity and surpassed Hurricane Patricia in 2015 as the strongest hurricane to make landfall in the Pacific on record.

Acapulco, Guerrero - Hurricane Otis
The highway bypass at Pie de la Cuesta, in Acapulco, Guerrero, was split into a section 8 meters wide after the passage of Hurricane Otis

The passage of Otis caused great devastation in the state of Guerrero, being one of the strongest hurricanes to have hit the coasts of the Mexican Pacific. It caused a widespread electricity outage in Acapulco, which was cut off.

Hurricane Otis hits Acapulco

What happened in Acapulco with Hurricane Otis?

Otis arrived on Wednesday at 12:25 with winds of more than 250 km/h and hit Acapulco as a category 5 hurricane. Acapulco, one of the tourist gems of Mexico was left without electricity, water,  internet, and gasoline.

Acapulco was unprepared for such a disaster. Hurricane Otis disabled the airport and destroyed the Princess Hotel on Revolcadero Beach. The hurricane damaged the stadium where the Mexican Tennis Open was played.

Hurricane Otis also dismantled the yacht club and the fishing fleet of Acapulco.

Hurricane severely damaged hotels on the Costera Miguel Alemán, but above all, it devastated the homes of tens of thousands of people and burst the electrical service networks, which left the Acapulco without water.

Otis impacted Acapulco bringing death and destruction.

Hurricane Otis downed power lines, uprooted trees, and unleashed torrential flooding and mudslides. Beyond its devastating impact on human life and property, the hurricane damaged the surrounding rainforest area.

Acapulco is located at the foot of the mountains, surrounded by forests. This image shows the city and its surroundings before and after Otis’ attack. The landscape near the city changes from lush green vegetation to brown.

Hurricane Otis - Acapulco

Images of Acapulco and the bay taken by the OLI sensor on Landsat 8 on September 21, 2023 (before Hurricane Otis passed), and the OLI-2 sensor on Landsat 9 after the passage of Hurricane Otis on October 31, 2023.

Hurricanes affect and disturb temperate and tropical forests in the coastal regions. Strong winds strip leaves from trees and break branches, and heavy rain combined with wind makes it easy to uproot trees from wet soils.

The damage to vegetation in the mountain area outside Acapulco is especially. Trees at high elevations and on steep slopes are more likely to suffer damage during storms because they are more exposed to high wind speeds.

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