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2. AP: Forecasters were caught off guard by Otis' growth. But warming means more hurricanes like it
Fri Oct 27, 2023, 12:38 AM
Oct 2023
Forecasters were caught off guard by Otis’ growth. But warming means more hurricanes like it

Updated 1:55 PM EDT, October 26, 2023

Hurricane Otis turned from mild to monster in record time, and scientists are struggling to figure out how — and why they didn’t see it coming.

Usually reliable computer models and the forecasters who use them didn’t predict Otis’ explosive intensification, creating a nightmare scenario of an unexpectedly strong storm striking at night. At least 27 people are dead and four missing in the destruction along Mexico’s Pacific coast, with devastation that extends for miles.

All this after Acapulco was told to expect a tropical storm just below hurricane strength. Just 24 hours later, Otis blasted ashore with 165 mph (266 kph) winds, the strongest landfall of any East Pacific hurricane.

In just 12 hours, Otis’ strength more than doubled from 70 mph (113 kph) winds to 160 mph (257 kph), also a record, as it neared the coast. And it got even stronger before it struck. Storms typically gain or lose a few miles per hour in 12 hours, though some outliers gain 30 to 50 mph (48 to 80 kph) in a day.

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