Due to the threat from Hurricane Otto, Colombia’s aviation authority shut down its airport on the Caribbean island of San Andres. Though the nation is rarely hit hard by hurricanes, San Andres is located far up the Central American isthmus off the coast of Nicaragua, where the storm may make landfall in the coming hours.
From Bogotá, Aerocivil announced that Gustavo Rojas Pinilla International Airport would close today at 1 pm and remain shut down through tomorrow morning at 7 am. Depending upon the severity of the late-season hurricane, that timeline is subject to change, potentially affecting more flights scheduled to and from what is one of Colombia’s most-popular tourist getaways. The authority also temporarily suspended works on the airport’s runway.
At least three people have already been killed in Panama by the effects of Otto, two due to a landslide and another who was stuck by a falling tree, according to the Weather Channel. Hurricane warnings remain in effect from as far south as Limon in Costa Rica to Bluefields, Nicaragua, in the north. A tropical storm watch stretch even further up and down the Caribbean coast of Central America.
This morning, Otto was downgraded to a tropical storm, but U.S. meteorological institutions have warned that it could still regain hurricane strength and note that 70 mph winds are still capable of doing intense damage. Hurricanes that hit Central America are also particularly problematic because the lass mass is so thin that it doesn’t cause storms to dissipate in strength quickly.