27 dead, multiple missing in the wake of Hurricane Otis in Mexico

At least 27 people are dead and multiple others are missing after Hurricane Otis made landfall as a Category 5 storm early Wednesday along the coast of Mexico.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced 27 people have died and four are missing in the cities of Acapulco and Guerrero, which is located on Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Otis was originally forecasted to make landfall as a tropical storm just below hurricane strength, but it ended up rapidly strengthening into a hurricane overnight Tuesday into Wednesday with 165 mph winds, the strongest landfall of any east Pacific hurricane, The Associated Press (AP) reported.

By Wednesday afternoon, Otis began to dissipate over the mountains of southern Mexico, though heavy rainfall continued in southwestern and south-central Mexico through Thursday, bringing flash and urban flooding along with mudslides to areas of higher terrain, the National Hurricane Center said.

Survivors in the neighborhoods of Acapulco spent Thursday searching for friends and family as they await much-needed aid, the AP reported.

Photos from the AP show brown waters flooding the streets as residents worked to retrieve basic resources for survival in the wreckage.

Obrador, who went by road Wednesday assessing the damage in Acapulco, said Otis downed every power line pole in the area of its landfall, leaving an estimated 500,000 homes without power, per the AP. Acapulco’s municipal water system was also down.

The remnants of Otis were expected to produce additional rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches though Thursday across Guerrero and Morelos, the hurricane center reported.

On Thursday, Guerrero Gov. Evelyn Pineda posted a video to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, showing what she said were “thousands of civil servants” from several parts of Mexico, along with Mexico’s secretary of welfare on their way to conduct a house-to-house census of the damage.

In a press conference Thursday, Obrador expressed his condolences to the friends and families of the victims, while his office confirmed the victims’ identities will be later announced.

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