An aviator reports on OTTO

Wednesday 23rd November 2016

Currently centred around 180 miles due east of the border between Nicaragua and Costa Rica, tropical storm OTTO is westbound at 5 knots. A hardy, if not wholly certifiable aviator has buzzed the eye overnight and found winds well below hurricane strength despite surface observers reporting hurricane force. Nonetheless, winds of 60 to 70 knots are being reported at present.

The current hurricane severity rating is 5 out of a possible 50 points (2 size, 3 intensity) and an expected - reduced - peak of 8 out of a possible 50 points (3 size, 5 intensity) at landfall with a small tropical storm strength windfield radius of just 65 miles. Although the cyclone has weakened to a tropical storm, conditions aloft will favour gradual strengthening to hurricane force again and OTTO is still forecast to strike southern Nicaragua as a hurricane tomorrow afternoon or evening. Thereafter, OTTO will rapidly weaken and - I hope - signal the end of the 2016 season.

Despite this being a tiny storm, extended seatime has made this a significant rainmaker when it makes landfall.

The track to the west is unanimous, however there was an exception to this overnight. My old friend, the blind sniper had OTTO turning to the east and making a beeline for the islands of the north east Caribbean based on limited area barotropical modelling. This would coincide with my own precise travel plans. That speculation has disappeared but naturally, I am left with a slight whiff of personal vendetta.

Storm cones aloft in Nicaragua then. Otherwise, stand easy.