Acapulco Hit by Strongest Storm to Ever Make Landfall in Mexico

Following “explosive intensification,” Hurricane Otis hit the Mexican resort city of Acapulco as a Category 5 storm Wednesday. The storm, according to, made landfall in the state of Guerrero overnight with maximum sustained winds of 165 mph.

From a Reuters report, Otis flooded streets, ripped roofs off homes and severed communications, road and air access. It also caused extensive damage to some of the most famous hotels on the shoreline of the city, which heavily depends on tourism. At least 27 people have died.

The report adds that Otis was “among the most prolific rapid intensification events on record.” In all, its maximum windspeed increased by 115 mph in 24 hours. According to CNN, the term “rapid intensification” is defined as a wind speed increase of at least 35 mph in 24 hours or less. This was greater than three times that minimum requirement.

Despite projecting the storm, the National Hurricane Center and other computer models “severely underestimated its intensity.” That said, a hurricane watch was issued Monday afternoon and hurricane warning issued early Tuesday morning. It hit the Mexican coast as the strongest ever to make landfall. Making matters worse, Acapulco has not withstood a hurricane stronger than a Category 1 since 1971.

Similar rapidly intensifying storms may become much more common. A 2023 study found that the average maximum tropical cyclone intensification rates are much greater since the year 2001 when compared to a historical era (1971 to 1990). Additionally, the number of tropical cyclones that intensify from a Category 1 hurricane (or weaker) into a major hurricane within 36 hours has more than doubled in the modern era relative to the historical era. In other words: Storms are getting stronger and are getting stronger faster.

The study attributed the change to “anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions [that] have warmed the planet and oceans.”

United Airlines has issued an alert for travel to Acapulco. If you’re scheduled to fly to or from Acapulco International Airport with original travel dates of October 28-29, you can reschedule your trip and United waive change fees and fare differences. Your new flight must be a United flight departing between October 27 and November 5. Tickets must be in the same cabin and between the same cities as originally booked.

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