Security Message for U.S. Citizens
November 22, 2016
The U.S. Embassy cautions U.S. citizens that Tropical Storm (TS) Otto is currently forecast to become a hurricane on Wednesday, November 23, 2016, and is expected to make landfall near Bluefields, Nicaragua on Thursday, November 24, 2016, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The Nicaraguan government has issued a hurricane watch for areas south of Bluefields.
Nicaragua’s national system for the prevention, mitigation, and attention to disasters (SINAPRED by its initials in Spanish) issued a yellow alert on November 21, 2016 because of the high probability that TS Otto could affect populations in the low-lying areas of municipalities in the Autonomous Region of the Southern Caribbean (RACS by its initials in Spanish), which includes Bluefields, Corn Island, and Little Corn Island; and the departments of Chontales, Central Zelaya, and Río San Juan. SINAPRED stated that the anticipated trajectory of the storm has a high likelihood of affecting populations in the low-lying areas of the RACS, Chontales, Central Zelaya, and Río San Juan. Expect extremely high winds, dangerous storm tides, heavy rainfall, and possible flooding to occur. SINAPRED reports that TS Otto could evolve into a Category 1 hurricane. SINAPRED posts updated information about their public announcements related to this storm and other phenomena on its website: http://www.sinapred.gob.ni/index.php/es/.
NHC reports sustained winds near 70 mph (110 km/h) with higher gusts in its most recent tracking report on TS Otto (from 10:00 a.m. EST). Additional strengthening is forecasted during the next 48 hours, and NHC forecasts that TS Otto will become a hurricane by Wednesday, November 23. NHC expects rainfall accumulations of 15 to 20 inches in some parts of southern Nicaragua, which will likely result in flash floods and mud slides. Swells generated by Otto are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions over the next several days along the coast of Nicaragua. Updated information from the NHC on Tropical Storm Otto is available at www.nhc.noaa.gov.
All U.S. citizens living in or traveling to the area should monitor local weather reports, follow directions from local officials, and take other appropriate actions as needed. Preparations to protect life and property in any storm or weather-related event should be considered, such as checking food and potable water, prescription medicine, gasoline, and generator diesel fuel supplies, and keeping families and friends informed of safety and whereabouts. U.S. citizens should carry their travel documents (i.e., U.S. passport) with them at all times or secure them in a waterproof location. If you must travel during this time in the affected areas, please take reasonable precautions such as avoiding swiftly moving water. Drivers should remain vigilant for possible landslides.
For further information about security in Nicaragua:
- See the State Department’s travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Nicaragua Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler-Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua, located at Km 5 ½ C. Sur Managua, Nicaragua, at 011-505-2252-7100, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The American Citizen Services unit is also available by email during regular business hours at ACS.Managua@state.gov.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
Note: The timestamp on this e-mail message may reflect Washington, D.C. time, which may differ from local time.