Costa Rica News – Tropical Storm Otto continues to weaken as it heads into the Eastern Pacific. As Hurricane Otto, this storm hit the coast of Costa Rica and Nicaragua as a Category 2 storm on the five point Saffir-Simpson scale.
Nevertheless, Otto was the largest forming hurricane ever recorded in the region. This is probably the result of exceptionally high sea surface temperatures in the region – around 29C.
Nicaragua sustained at least four fatalities, with another five people reported missing.
This death toll could have been worse had the storm not missed major population centres, and passed across Central America’s largest lake, Lake Nicaragua.
Otto managed to remain largely intact as it passed across low-lying ground across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua, emerging as a 110km per hour tropical storm on the west coast of the country.
According to Jeff Masters of Weather Underground, in records dating back to 1851, Otto is the only tropical storm or hurricane whose centre moved over any part of Costa Rica, and the latest Atlantic hurricane to reach Category 2 strength in any year.
Otto is now more than 100km to the west of Costa Rica.
It continues to feed off warm surface waters and is expected to remain a tropical storm until the middle of next week.
Although computer models are struggling to handle a tropical storm this far south so late in the year, Otto will remain a “fish storm”, eventually decaying over open water.