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Mexico braces for Category 5 hurricane, risk of 'catastrophic' damage

Acapulco, Mexico: Mexico’s southern coastbracedforHurricaneOtis on Wednesday as theCategory5storm barreled towards the beach resortofAcapulco, with the potential to cause “catastrophicdamage,” the US NationalHurricaneCenter (NHC) said.

The storm was expected to come ashore between 4 am (1000 GMT) and 6 a.m. (1200 GMT), bringing high winds and heavy rain.Mexico’s national water agency CONAGUA warnedofsix-to-eight meter surf off Guerrero state, home to Acapulco, and also off partsofOaxaca state.

By 9 pm on Tuesday (0300 GMT), Otis was about 55 miles south-southeastofAcapulco and blowing maximum sustained windsof160 mph (257 kph), the Miami-based NHC added.

In Guerrero, authorities were preparing storm shelters and the national guard said it was helping to prepareforrescues and evacuations.

The defense ministry enacted a disaster plan aheadofthe storm’s arrival, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on social media late on Tuesday, as soldiers patrolled Acapulco’s emptying beaches.

The storm could bring up to 20 inches (51 cm)ofrain in partsofGuerrero and neighboring Oaxaca, with the possibilityofflash floods and mudslides, a “potentiallycatastrophic” storm surge, and “life-threatening” surf and rip current conditions, authorities said.

Schools across Guerrero canceled classesforWednesday aheadofOtis’ arrival, Governor Evelyn Salgado said on social media.

(Published 25 October 2023, 06:39 IST)

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