Dozens dead as Hurricane Otis hits parts of Mexico
Mexican authorities say dozens have been killed following Hurricane Otis’ landfall. Thousands are left without electricity and clean drinking water.
Joseph Namlik went to sleep in the bathroom of his hotel room in Acapulco, Mexico, on Tuesday night. He woke up in about an inch of water.
Namlik, who had traveled from South Carolina, was among those attending a mining conference in Acapulco, which was disrupted by Hurricane Otis, one of the strongest storms on record to hit the country. He and other visitors to the popular seaside resort town were stranded in their hotels during the typhoon and are now finding their way to safety in Mexico City.
Otis made landfall on Mexico’s southern coast early Wednesday morning as a Category 5 hurricane. As of Thursday afternoon, 27 people have died.
According to Colorado State University research meteorologist Bill Klotzbach, no one was prepared for Otis’ rapid intensification — the fastest 12-hour intensification rate of any eastern Pacific hurricane in 57 years.
Namlik, a construction manager at Newfields, said he had no idea the weather would change so drastically when he arrived. It’s “just going to be a storm,” he told USA TODAY.
Videos on social media showed howling winds ripping off roofs and downing trees along flooded streets.
Some convention-goers were trapped inside the convention center overnight because of the wind and rain, Namlik said.
He was one of the lucky ones to return to his hotel room at the Palacio Mundo Imperial on Tuesday night. Guests were told by hotel staff to “be quiet” in their rooms and keep their sliding glass doors closed. Food and water provided throughout the night at the hotel.
“The storm started really bad and debris started blowing as the wind picked up,” Namlik said, adding that he could feel the building moving with the force of the wind.
Namlik said he was on the fifth floor when the sliding doors of the room opposite him caved in, forcing the guests to leave.
The power went out shortly after midnight and the wind picked up around 1 a.m. He put chairs to hold the shutters of his balcony doors and went to sleep in the bathroom.
“I’ve been through hurricanes before, but it was hard to sleep,” he said.
On Wednesday morning, the hotel’s corridor was wet with water from the roof and the wind was blowing inside. Glass elevators were also smashed.
Namlik met his colleagues on Wednesday morning and walked to a nearby supermarket, where they waited for more than four hours for water and other dry goods.
When the weather worsened, buses started arriving and the hotel coordinated to take people back to Mexico City. He has booked a hotel and will continue his trip in Mexico as planned.
Contributed by: Associated Press