Tropical Cyclone 16L (Otto) remains active…located about 175 miles east-northeast of Limon, Costa Rica
Tropical Storm 16L (Otto) is likely to attain category 1 hurricane status again, as it did yesterday…although only briefly before landfall
Otto is latest hurricane ever recorded in the Caribbean Sea. Hurricane Otto, has weakened to a tropical storm at the time of this writing, and is forecast to make a landfall in Central America Thursday…as it moves ashore over southern Nicaragua.
Otto has good moisture to help keep it going, and sea surface temperatures are very warm, near 84F degrees…which was about 1.8F degrees above normal for this time of year.
Here’s what the computer models are showing for this tropical cyclone
Otto will make landfall in either Nicaragua or Costa Rica as a hurricane Thursday…which could be a record latest-in-season hurricane landfall in Nicaragua. Otto could be the first hurricane landfall in 174 years of records in Costa Rica.
It should take about a day or so for TS Otto to cross southern Nicaragua, which is less mountainous than other parts of Central America. With this limited land influence, Otto may remain a tropical storm when it enters the Pacific Ocean Friday…in which case Otto would keep its name.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), TS Otto has lost some organization since yesterday. The last Air Force Reserve reconnaissance mission reported that the eyewall has dissipated, along with a 6 millibar rise in pressure. Still, the maximum flight-level winds were 68 knots.
It appears that the southeasterly wind shear (15-20 knots) has been a little stronger than forecast yesterday, which has allowed some drier air to mix into the cyclone. This is evident in the inner-core data from the Air Force mission, which showed rather low dew points.
The global models are suggesting the wind shear will decrease before landfall, and Otto should be moving over warmer waters later today. These factors suggest some restrengthening is possible overnight and Thursday, which is consistent with the bulk of the guidance models.
Stronger wind shear over the eastern Pacific is expected to cause gradual weakening of Otto in that basin, with remnant low status likely by day 5. The official intensity forecast has been reduced somewhat from the last one but still calls for Otto to be a hurricane at landfall.
Aircraft fixes show that Otto continues to move toward the west-northwest at 4 knots. A building mid-level ridge of high pressure to the north of Otto should cause the tropical cyclone to turn westward and accelerate tonight. Late in the period, a motion south of due west is indicated as the mid-level ridge amplifies over the eastern Pacific.
According to NOAA’s best track database, prior to January 2016’s unusual Hurricane Alex, only 18 storms of at least tropical storm strength had formed on or after November 21 dating back to 1950. The last to do so prior to Alex and the current system was Tropical Storm Olga in December 2007.
Only nine tropical cyclones became hurricanes in the Atlantic Basin after November 21 from 1950 through 2015. Only one of those nine hurricanes occurred in the southwest Caribbean Sea…which was Hurricane Martha in 1969.
Here’s a graphic showing Alerts in the areas noted below –
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for…
* Limon Costa Rica to Bluefields Nicaragua
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* North of Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi Nicaragua
* South of Limon to the Costa Rica/Panama border
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* North of Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi Nicaragua
* San Andres A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* West of Colon Panama to the Costa Rica/Panama border
* Puntarenas Costa Rica to Puerto Sandino Nicaragua
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, usually within 48 hours.
A Tropical Storm Warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
A Tropical Storm Watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.
Interests elsewhere in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Providencia Island should monitor the progress of Otto.
HAZARDS AFFECTING LAND
RAINFALL: Outer rain bands from Otto are expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over San Andres and Providencia islands, and the higher terrain of central and western Panama and southern Costa Rica through today. Total rainfall of 6 to 12 inches, with isolated amounts of 15 to 20 inches, can be expected across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua through Thursday. These rains will likely result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
WIND: Hurricane conditions are expected within the hurricane warning area on Thursday, with tropical storm conditions expected to begin late tonight or Thursday morning, making outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Hurricane conditions are possible in the hurricane watch area on Thursday.
Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area in Nicaragua tonight and Thursday. Tropical storm conditions are expected in San Andres later today. Tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area along the Pacific coasts of Costa Rica and Nicaragua by Thursday night.
STORM SURGE: The combination of a dangerous storm surge and large and destructive waves could raise water levels by as much 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore flow within the hurricane warning area.
SURF: Swells generated by Otto are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions over the next several days along the coasts of Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua.
Tropical Cyclone 16L (Otto)
Gulf of Mexico
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