Unusually late Hurricane Otto takes aim at Central America
An unusually late-season Hurricane Otto swirled over the Caribbean just off Central America on Wednesday and headed toward a possible landfall in Nicaragua after regaining hurricane strength, Associated Press reported.
Heavy rains from the storm were blamed for three deaths in Panama, and officials in Costa Rica ordered the evacuation of 4,000 people from its Caribbean coast.
Nicaragua ordered evacuations in low-lying areas of its sparsely populated Caribbean coast, an order that could cover about 7,000 people.
The country's disaster prevention agency said classes would be cancelled in the area south of the town of Bluefields which was hit hard by Hurricane Joan in 1988.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the westward-moving storm had regained hurricane strength late Wednesday, with winds of 75 mph (110 kph), after fluctuating between tropical storm and hurricane status earlier this week. It was expected to make landfall as a hurricane Thursday.
The storm caused heavy rains in Panama as it moved roughly parallel to that nation's northern coast.