ACAPULCO, Mexico, Oct 25 (Reuters) – Hurricane Otis slammed into the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco early on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm battered hotels and sent tourists scrambling for safety as it ravaged the South Pacific coast. .
Videos posted on social media showed torn apart rooms, roofs and walls left open by the typhoon, cars partially submerged in floodwaters, and the southern state of Guerrero woke to chaos in the wake of Otis.
Mexico’s civil defense officials announced power outages across Guerrero, while flights to and from Acapulco were grounded and classes canceled due to Otis, one of the most powerful storms to hit the country’s Pacific coast.
At about 0600 local time (1200 GMT), Otis was about 60 miles (100 km) north-northwest of Acapulco and weakened rapidly as it moved inland. However, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported sustained winds of 110 mph.
The cyclone was downgraded from a Category 5 earlier in the day and is expected to dissipate in the next 24 hours. Meanwhile, hurricane-force winds are bringing heavy rain and flash flooding to large parts of southern Mexico.
Officials said it could bring up to 20 inches (51 cm) of rain to parts of Otis, Guerrero and Oaxaca states, cause mudslides, “catastrophic” storm surge and life-threatening surges and disrupt current conditions.
Mexico’s national water agency, CONAGUA, has warned of six to 8 meter surf in parts of Guerrero and Oaxaca.
In Guerrero, officials opened storm shelters, and the National Guard was on standby for rescues and evacuations.
The Defense Ministry enacted a disaster plan ahead of the storm’s arrival, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said late Tuesday that soldiers were patrolling the deserted beaches of Acapulco.
Reporting by Javier Verdin in Acapulco and Brendan O’Boyle in Mexico City; By Brendan O’Boyle and Natalia Siniawski; Editing by Dave Graham and Sharon Singleton
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