After several days of threatening to become a tropical cyclone right at the end of the Atlantic hurricane season, Tropical Storm Otto has formed in the Caribbean about 190 miles east-southeast of San Andres Island and about 315 miles east of Bluefields, Nicaragua.
According to the National Hurricane Center in Miami, at 4 p.m. EST on Monday, the center of the storm was nearly stationary and a generally westward drift is expected over the next couple of days.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph with higher gusts and strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours. Otto could become a hurricane in a couple of days.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center, but there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect as of yet.
Interests in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and the islands of San Andres and Providencia should monitor the progress of Otto. Outer rain bands from Otto are expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 3-to-6 inches across portions of central and western Panama and southeastern Costa Rica through Wednesday, with isolated totals upward of 10-to-15 inches across the higher terrain. These rains could result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Additional heavy rainfall may move into portions of Costa Rica on Wednesday night and into Thursday as the system approaches the coast.
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