MANAGUA, Nicaragua – Hurricane Otto weakened rapidly as it moved across southern Nicaragua on Thursday after making landfall on that country’s Caribbean coast as a dangerous Category 2 storm. It was the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Otto had faded to a tropical storm by Thursday night and was expected to emerge off of Central America’s Pacific coast early Friday.
Authorities in Nicaragua said Otto had damaged houses and toppled trees, but so far there were no reports of casualties. Earlier, heavy rains from the storm were blamed for three deaths in Panama.
Otto battered Nicaragua’s Corn Islands with 3.5-meter waves and damaged houses but residents were all safe in refuges, said the archipelago’s mayor, Cleveland Rolando Webster.
“There is a lot of rain, the sea is rough and the wind is strong. We have been in danger all night, getting cold and wet,” said Alicia Lampson, 21, as she arrived at a shelter with a group of people from the village of Monkey Point, south of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the unusually strong late-season hurricane hit land just north of the Costa Rican border with winds of 110 mph. Otto’s winds later weakened to 70 mph as it moved inland near the border with Costa Rica. By Thursday night, it was located about 20 miles north of Liberia, Costa Rica.
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