Hurricane Otis’ intimidating landfall plunged the resort city of Acapulco, Mexico, into darkness in minutes.
The hurricane rapidly intensified from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in only 12 hours on Tuesday afternoon and approached Mexico’s southern Pacific coast with maximum sustained wind speeds of 165 miles per hour. The rapid intensification gave Acapulco and nearby towns little time to prepare or evacuate residents, and meteorologists warned of the devastating storm surges and life-threatening coastal flooding. Some meteorologists even referred to the incoming storm as a “nightmare” scenario.
El Niño was partially to blame for the storm’s rapid intensification, according to AccuWeather.
“This phenomenon is characterized by water temperatures in this part of the Pacific being warmer than historical average which helps add more fuel to strengthen storms given other favorable conditions (such as low wind shear),” an AccuWeather spokesperson told Newsweek in a statement.
The storm’s 12-hour rapid intensification with winds jumping in speed by 80 miles per hour “was the fastest by an Eastern Pacific storm in the satellite era” since 1966, according to AccuWeather. The storm’s 24-hour rapid intensification of around 110 miles per hour is tied for sixth fastest in the world.
Among severe damages, Hurricane Otis plunged more than 500,000 power users into total darkness as it ravaged Mexico. A timelapse shows how most Acapulco residents were plunged into darkness over a three-hour timespan Tuesday night.
“Acapulco, a city of 1 million people, has now been plunged into almost total darkness as Category 5 Hurricane Otis makes landfall,” social media user Nahel Belgherze posted on X, formerly Twitter, early Wednesday morning.
The timelapse is composed of two photos from a webcam in Acapulco. The first photo was taken at 8:09 p.m. local time Tuesday night and showed bright lights covering the coast. The second photo was taken just before midnight. Nearly all the lights had gone out.
A timelapse video taken from a separate webcam showed the severity of the storm’s impacts in only a 6-minute period. The timelapse video was taken just after 11 p.m. Tuesday night local time and showed swaths of lights flickering out.
“6-minute timelapse of the Acapulco Bay shoreline steadily losing power tonight from Hurricane Otis. The worst isn’t even in the area yet…” social media user Weather Track US posted on X, formerly Twitter, early Wednesday morning.
As of Wednesday, 504,340 customers were affected by power outages, Mexico’s national electric utility Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) announced. CFE has restored electricity service to 202,932 users so far. Nearly 37 percent of users in the state of Guerrero, Mexico, which includes Acapulco, were impacted by the power outages.