Hurricane Otis is now an incredibly dangerous category-five storm, racing toward southern Mexico, as warned by US weather experts.
The storm’s winds have picked up speed, reaching nearly 160 miles per hour (260 kilometers per hour), according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
When Otis reaches land on Wednesday morning, it is expected to weaken considerably.
However, the NHC has cautioned about “destructive waves” and heavy flooding in coastal areas, including the popular Acapulco resort.
As of 03:00 GMT on Wednesday, Otis was located about 55 miles southeast of Acapulco.
A hurricane warning has been issued for a 350-kilometer-long stretch of coastline between the towns of Zihuatanejo and Punta Maldonado in Guerrero state.
The NHC has expressed concerns about a “potentially catastrophic storm surge,” which could lead to life-threatening coastal flooding east of where the storm makes landfall. This surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves along the coast.
Additionally, Otis is expected to bring heavy rainfall, with up to 20 inches (51 centimeters) of rain on Friday in Guerrero and the western coastal regions of neighboring Oaxaca state.
To ensure safety, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has encouraged people to relocate to emergency shelters and stay away from rivers, streams, and ravines.
In anticipation of the hurricane’s arrival, Guerrero’s authorities have set up emergency shelters, and school classes throughout the state have been canceled.
In Acapulco, soldiers are patrolling the beach area to provide assistance.
Earlier this month, parts of Mexico’s Pacific coastline experienced severe flooding when Tropical Storm Max struck, resulting in two reported deaths in Guerrero.
A few days later, another fatality was reported as a powerful Hurricane Lidia made landfall in Nayarit, northwest of Guerrero.