Hurricane otis hits Acapulco. Lives lost, widespread damage

26.10.2023 posted by Admin

Wrath of hurricane otis. Acapulco's tragic toll

A devastating event unfolded in Acapulco, Mexico, where Hurricane Otis struck the coast with extraordinary force, reaching Category 5 status. This powerful storm resulted in the tragic loss of at least 27 lives, and four individuals are still unaccounted for, as reported by Mexico's Security Minister, Rosa Icela Rodriguez during a press conference on Thursday.

The aftermath of Hurricane Otis has left Mexican authorities grappling to assess the full extent of the damage. Widespread communication disruptions have made it challenging for both residents and emergency responders to gauge the impact. Nevertheless, images and videos have begun to surface, revealing the destructive winds and torrential rains that inundated streets with several feet of water, leaving many buildings with shattered windows and damaged structures.

The devastation caused power outages affecting over 500,000 homes and businesses across Guerrero state, according to the country's power utility, CFE. While 40% of those affected have had their power restored, much work remains to fully reinstate electricity.

In light of the communication blackout and the urgent need for damage assessment, Mexican government officials embarked on a journey to Acapulco to witness the situation firsthand. Laura Velázquez, National Coordinator of Civil Protection, explained their mission, stating that the rapidly evolving Hurricane Otis caught them off guard. It went from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in just 12 hours, defying early forecasts.

Once Otis moved inland, it quickly weakened and dissipated over southern Mexico's mountains by Wednesday afternoon. However, the storm's lingering heavy rains are anticipated to persist until Thursday, potentially causing flash floods and mudslides, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Although the immediate threat has diminished, the road to recovery is long and arduous. Disturbing images from the affected area portray structures in ruins, buried under uprooted trees and foliage. High-rise buildings have lost their windows, and numerous roads have turned into waterways, forcing people to navigate through murky floodwaters.

In one harrowing video from an Acapulco residence, a family sought shelter beneath a mattress, struggling to protect themselves from the ferocious winds and rain assaulting their shattered windows.

Mexican National Guard personnel have been tirelessly working to clear the chaos left behind by Otis, which includes stranded vehicles, fallen trees, and debris strewn across the landscape.

In response to the storm's impact, the Acapulco International Airport had to suspend operations as it undergoes recovery efforts. Large piles of debris scattered throughout the airport were captured in images released by Mexico's Secretary of Infrastructure, Communications, and Transportation.

It's crucial to acknowledge that Hurricane Otis's rapid intensification is linked to the human-induced climate crisis, a pattern that is growing more frequent. Scientists define rapid intensification as a substantial increase in wind speed, at least 35 mph within 24 hours or less, often requiring elevated ocean temperatures. With over 90% of global warming occurring in the oceans over the past half-century, the influence of El Niño in the Pacific, leading to even higher ocean temperatures, exacerbates this climate challenge.
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