Otto became the latest Caribbean hurricane on record on Tuesday, developing into the Atlantic Basin’s seventh hurricane at the tail end of the tropical season.
Otto officially became a hurricane on Tuesday morning, with maximum sustained winds bumped up to 75 miles-per-hour (MPH) by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). That makes Otto the seventh Atlantic hurricane so far this season, and the latest ever to develop in the Caribbean Sea.
Churning through the southwestern Caribbean Sea, Otto has quickly picked up steam in the last few days after first being labeled a tropical depression on Sunday. It’s slowly moving to the west, already delivering heavy rainfall to eastern Costa Rica and Nicaragua and the potential for near 100 MPH winds on Thursday as the storm makes landfall. It’s expected to make landfall near the Caribbbean border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua, a sparsely populated region mostly filled with national parks and rainforest. Mudslides from heavy rainfall will be the primary threat to livelihood in Central America.
The storm’s slow-moving nature could lead to excess rainfall across parts of Central America, particularly for Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua, where up to two feet of rain is possible in some localized areas. No recorded hurricane has ever directly hit Costa Rica, and records date back to 1851.
The Atlantic basin’s hurricane season officially ‘ends’ on November 30th, but hurricanes occasionally do develop during the winter months, including Hurricane Alex in the north Atlantic in January. With Otto, the Atlantic is now up to 15 named storms and seven hurricanes, above the full-season Atlantic averages of 12 named storms and six hurricanes.
Stay with WeatherNation for the latest on the tropics and Otto.
For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Chris Bianchi