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Published on : Friday, November 25, 2016
Otto, the southernmost hurricane on record to hit Central America, struck a sparsely-populated area of southern Nicaragua Thursday. Neighbouring Costa Rica had ordered evacuation of 4,000 people from the Caribbean coast.
Simultaneously, a powerful earthquake shook Nicaragua and El Salvador, briefly triggering a tsunami alert.
The 7.0-magnitude quake in the Pacific Ocean was about 120km (75 miles) off the coast of El Salvador. There were no reports of damage or casualties but residents were initially advised to evacuate coastal areas. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center later said the threat had passed.
Media in Nicaragua said one woman died of a heart attack after hearing the tsunami warning.
Meanwhile, in Costa Rica, President Luis Guillermo Solis said four people had been killed by Hurricane Otto. Some 30 people are reported to be missing.
The country had not been directly hit by a hurricane since records began in 1851.
At its peak, Otto had wind speeds of up to 175km/h (110mph ) but it soon weakened into a tropical storm.
Forecasters warned of heavy rains which they fear could cause flash floods and mudslides, with up to 50cm (20 ins) of rain expected in parts of Nicaragua and Costa Rica on Friday.
Otto is now moving into the Pacific, but it is feared coffee crops, that were almost ready to be picked, could have been badly damaged.
Four people died in Panama earlier this week as a result of severe weather caused by Otto’s approach.
Meanwhile, a resident of Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, praised the authorities for their quick response.