Tropical storm Otto, earlier on record as the seventh hurricane of the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, continues to head across the Caribbean toward Nicaragua and Costa Rica for an expected landfall on Thanksgiving Day, possibly as a hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center has warned that Otto could bring life-threatening flash floods and mudslides to parts of Central America.
Total rainfall of 6 to 12 inches, with isolated amounts of 15 to 20 inches, can be expected across northern Costa Rica and southern Nicaragua through Thursday.
The combination of a dangerous storm surge and large and destructive waves could raise water levels by as much as 2 to 4 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore flow within the hurricane warning area, the NHC said.
Otto has already been blamed for three fatalities in Panama, according to reports.
As noted over at Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog, Otto was christened on November 21, unusually late for a Caribbean tropical storm. Only 11 Caribbean storms since 1851 have had a later formation date.
A storm of Otto’s expected strength has never made landfall so far south in the Caribbean, and there is no record of any hurricane striking Costa Rica, WunderBlog said.
The Weather Channel also tells us that NOAA has recorded only one tropical storm making landfall in Costa Rica, in any month, either from the eastern Pacific or Caribbean Sea side in their 174-year database, a December 1887 tropical storm.
Check out Insurance Information Institute facts and statistics on the Costa Rica insurance market.
It’s worth adding that it’s not unusual for Atlantic basin tropical storms to form in November.
NOAA records indicate there have been 36 Atlantic tropical cyclones of at least tropical storm strength in November from 1950 through 2015, of which 20 became hurricanes, according to the Weather Channel.
Late season storms can also be very destructive. In 1985, Hurricane Kate struck November 20-21 in the Florida Panhandle, causing $77.6 million in insured losses (about $170.9 million in 2015 dollars).
The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends November 30.
Check out I.I.I. facts and statistics on hurricanes here.