Tropical Cyclone 16L (Otto) remains active…located about 260 miles east of Limon, Costa Rica
Tropical Storm 16L (Otto) is very likely to attain category 1 hurricane status later today…remaining at that strength through the next 48 hours
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 on Thanksgiving Day…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.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), TS Otto is close to becoming a hurricane. Satellite images indicate that the cloud pattern has become better organized, with a central dense overcast and broad band feature over the western semicircle evident.
The past Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter flight recorded maximum flight-level winds of 65 knots.
Weak-to-moderate southeasterly shear is expected near Otto for the next couple of days, while the tropical cyclone moves over warm water. These conditions should allow Otto to continue to strengthen, and almost all of the guidance has Otto as a hurricane before making a central American landfall.
Land interaction will cause weakening after landfall, but a stronger Otto is less likely to dissipate as quickly over the eastern Pacific. Most of the guidance now keeps the storm going throughout the period, so the remnant low designation has been changed to a tropical cyclone status over the eastern Pacific.
Otto really isn’t moving much, with recon fixes showing little net motion during the morning hours. A mid-level ridge is forecast to build over the northwestern Caribbean Sea by tomorrow, which should cause Otto to move slowly westward. As the ridge builds, the forecast speed should increase, especially as the cyclone moves across 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 Hurricane Alerts in the area
SUMMARY OF WATCHES AND WARNINGS IN EFFECT:
A Hurricane Watch is in effect for…
* Costa Rica/Panama border to south of Bluefields
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for…
* Nargana to Colon
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for…
* San Andres
* West of Colon to the Costa Rica/Panama border
A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
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 3 to 6 inches over San Andres and Providencia islands, and the higher terrain of central and western Panama and southern Costa Rica through Wednesday. 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: Tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area today and tonight. Tropical storm conditions are possible within the tropical storm watch area on Wednesday or Wednesday night. Hurricane conditions are possible within the hurricane watch area on Thursday.
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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