NASA sees Tropical Storm Otto heading toward landfall in Central America
Satellites are keeping track of late-season Tropical Storm Otto as it threatens Central America. NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured an image of Otto as it was briefly strengthening into a hurricane.
On Nov. 22 at 2:24 p.m. EST (18:24 UTC) the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) instrument aboard the NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP satellite captured a visible image of Otto as it was strengthening into a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea. Although Otto was strengthening into a hurricane the eye was not yet visible in the VIIRS image.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Limon Costa Rica to Bluefields, Nicaragua. A Hurricane Watch is in effect from north of Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua and south of Limon to the Costa Rica/Panama border. In addition, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from north of Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua and San Andres. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from west of Colon, Panama to the Costa Rica/Panama border and from Puntarenas, Costa Rica to Puerto Sandino, Nicaragua.
On Nov. 22 at 4 p.m. EST, Tropical Storm Otto strengthened into the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic Ocean Hurricane Season when maximum sustained winds reached 75 mph (120 kph). Otto maintained that strength until Nov. 23 at 7 a.m. EST when it weakened to a tropical storm.
The National Hurricane Center said that "Air Force Reserve reconnaissance mission reported that the eyewall has dissipated, along with a 6 millibar rise in pressure."
By 10 a.m. EST (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Otto was located near latitude 11.1 north and longitude 80.7 West. That's about 175 miles (280 km) east-northeast of Limon, Costa Rica and 220 miles (350 km) east-southeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua. The estimated minimum central pressure is 994 millibars.
Otto was moving toward the west-northwest near 5 mph (7 kph) and NHC said a turn toward the west with an increase in forward speed is expected tonight and Thursday. On the forecast track, the center of Otto will move onshore within the hurricane warning area on Thursday, and reach the Pacific coast of southern Nicaragua or northern Costa Rica early Friday.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 70 mph (110 kph) with higher gusts.
Otto is forecast to become a hurricane again on Thursday, Nov. 24 before weakening over Central America after landfall.
For updated forecasts, visit the NHC website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov