ACAPULCO, Mexico, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Hurricane Otis slammed into the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco as a Category 4 storm early on Wednesday, destroying hotels and sending tourists fleeing for cover as it lashed the southern Pacific coast with heavy rain and strong winds. .
Videos broadcast on social media showed rooms destroyed by the passing hurricane, ceilings and walls open, and cars partially submerged in floodwaters as the southern state of Guerrero woke up to the chaos left behind by Otis.
Mexican civil protection authorities reported power outages across Guerrero, while flights to and from Acapulco were suspended and classes were canceled due to Otis, one of the strongest storms to hit the country’s Pacific coast.
At about 0600 local time (1200 GMT), Otis was 60 miles (100 kilometers) northwest of Acapulco, having rapidly weakened as it moved inland. The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said winds were still blowing at 110 miles per hour.
The hurricane was downgraded to Category 5 earlier today and is expected to dissipate within the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, heavy rains and flash floods accompanied by hurricane-force winds are falling on large areas of southern Mexico.
Authorities said Otis could bring up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain in parts of Guerrero and Oaxaca states, mudslides, “potentially catastrophic” storm surge, life-threatening waves and upending current conditions.
Mexico’s national water agency CONAGUA warned of waves rising from six to eight meters off Guerrero and parts of Oaxaca.
In Guerrero, authorities opened storm shelters, and the National Guard was ready for rescue and evacuations.
The Defense Ministry had drawn up a disaster plan before the storm arrived, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said late Tuesday night, as soldiers patrolled the empty beaches of Acapulco.
(Reporting by Javier Verdin in Acapulco and Brendan O’Boyle in Mexico City; Preparing by Mohammed for the Arabic Bulletin) Writing by Brendan O’Boyle and Natalia Siniawski. Edited by Dave Graham and Sharon Singleton
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