Tropical storm Otto kills nine in Costa Rica. Image copyright Reuters At least nine people have been killed by tropical storm Otto in Costa Rica, officials say, as areas recorded over a month's worth of rain in a few hours.
President Luis Guillermo Solis declared three days of mourning. Some 5,500 residents had to be evacuated. Several towns were covered by water and mud, and small bridges collapsed. Otto, the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America, made landfall in southern Nicaragua as a category-two storm on Thursday. But it weakened rapidly and became a tropical storm as it moved into the Pacific, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said. Costa Rica had not been directly hit by a hurricane since records began in 1851. Image copyright EPA The deaths were reported in the area of Bagaces and Upala, south of the border with Nicaragua. Businessman Carlos Alberto Volio, 68, told Reuters news agency: "Otto leaves us in a very difficult situation, both for the country and for all of us. Hurricane Otto: Category two storm makes Nicaragua landfall.
Image copyright AFP Hurricane Otto has made landfall over a sparsely populated area of southern Nicaragua after strengthening to a category two storm, meteorologists from the US National Hurricane Centre say.
It says the storm is now near the town of San Juan de Nicaragua. Costa Rica declared an emergency and ordered the evacuation of 4,000 people from Atlantic coastal areas. Meanwhile, a powerful earthquake shook Nicaragua and El Salvador on Thursday triggering a brief tsunami alert. The 7.0 magnitude quake in the Pacific Ocean was about 120km (75 miles) off the coast of El Salvador. Nevertheless, Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega declared a state of emergency due to the hurricane and the quake.
Potential for destruction Hurricane Otto has wind speeds of up to 110mph (175km/h) and is expected to weaken to a tropical storm by Thursday night. Hurricane Matthew: Dangerous storm closes in on Haiti. One of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes in recent years is closing in on Haiti, bringing winds, rains and storm surges.
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Now downgraded to a tropical storm, it is pushing north-eastward. Emergencies have been declared in Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. A state of emergency remains in effect for most of Florida. There are concerns over stagnant water in the state, which has been battling the mosquito-born Zika virus. Gusts of 80mph (130km/h) caused storm surges that flooded part of the Florida coast. In the town of Cedar Key, waters rose more than 9.5ft (2.9 metres), among the highest surges ever seen, according to the National Weather Service. A 56-year-old man died when a tree fell on the tent he was sleeping in, local media reported. Hurricane Hermine in pictures After making landfall early on Friday, Hermine swept through Florida and Georgia. It is expected the storm conditions will reach New York on Sunday. Zika fears Image copyright AP.
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