Hurricane Otto strengthened to a Category 2 hurricane on Thursday and is just hours away from making landfall near the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, with 105 mph winds carrying with it the dangers of flooding and mudslides.
According to civil protection agencies, thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes as the storm heads toward Central America. Otto has already caused heavy rains in Panama.
Nicaraguan Vice President Rosario Murillo said they have evacuated about 10,000 people to safeguard human life as they await the hurricane's imminent arrival. She added that authorities have arranged shelters in safe areas.
Meteorologists in the United States have warned that Otto is the strongest Atlantic hurricane this late in the season since 1934.
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In Panama, nine people were trapped in a landslide on Tuesday; seven were rescued but two were pulled from the mud dead. A child in Panama City was also killed when a tree fell.
An alert remains for the coast of Nicaragua north of Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi, and for the coast of Costa Rica south of Limon to the Costa Rica-Panama border.
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