Early on Wednesday, Hurricane Otis, a Category 4 hurricane, tore over the Mexican beach resort of Acapulco, smashing hotels and forcing travelers to seek shelter as it lashed the southern Pacific coast with strong winds and torrential rain.
Videos shared on social media showed automobiles partially submerged in flooding, ceilings and walls ripped open, and rooms completely destroyed by the cyclone as the southern state of Guerrero awoke to the chaos left in Otis’ wake.
Social media footage from one hospital showed nurses taking patients out of their rooms in order to protect them from Otis, which was one of the fiercest hurricanes to ever hit the area.
Although there were no current reports of storm-related deaths, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador issued a warning, saying that authorities were having difficulty getting updates.
“The hurricane is still affecting the area and communications are completely down,” he told reporters at a regular government press conference.
According to a statement from Mexico’s national water agency CONAGUA, Otis has weakened into a Category 2 Hurricane but is still over the state of Guerrero and will continue to produce heavy rains throughout much of the region, mostly in coastal areas.
Otis caused hotels to tremble, forcing visitors into refuges. Meanwhile, flights to and from Acapulco were canceled, and courses were canceled, according to Mexico’s civil protection authorities, who also reported power disruptions throughout Guerrero.
Otis was 60 miles (100 km) north-northwest of Acapulco at 0600 local time (1200 GMT), having weakened quickly as it went inland, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.
Even yet, it continued to pack gusts of up to 110 mph (177 km/h), sweeping large areas of southern Mexico with hurricane-force winds, torrential rain, and flash flooding.
Authorities warned that Otis could bring dangerous surf and rip current conditions, mudslides, a “potentially catastrophic” storm surge, and up to 20 inches (51 cm) of rain to some areas of Guerrero and Oaxaca states.
A 6-to 8-meter (20- to 26-foot) wave warning was issued by CONAGUA for Guerrero and some areas of Oaxaca.
Storm shelters were set up by the government in Guerrero, and the National Guard was prepared to perform evacuations and rescues.
As soldiers monitored Acapulco’s empty beaches, Lopez Obrador stated late on Tuesday that the Defense Ministry had implemented a contingency plan ahead of the storm’s arrival.