Extreme Temperature Diary- Tuesday October 31st, 2023/Main Topic: Death Toll Continues to Rise from Hurricane Otis

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😉

Main Topic: Death Toll Continues to Rise from Hurricane Otis

Dear Diary. Devastation across Acapulco from Hurricane Otis is continuing to make print news, however the war in Gaza is stealing the show on broadcast news. That’s deservedly so since this war is killing more than climate change as of 2023. Still, since Otis is a big warning signal about our climate future, it does deserve more news. In my own tiny way, I’m giving this hurricane more print news today.

Folks like Dr. Michael Mann have noticed that the results and ramifications from Otis are being ignored also:

As of this Halloween the death count from Otis is 47. As opposed to trick or treat, Hurricane Otis was and continues to be a real horror story for many.

Here are more details from the Washington Post. Two more souls were found to be dead since this article was published yesterday:

Hurricane Otis death toll rises to 45; dozens still missing – The Washington Post

Hurricane Otis death toll rises to 45; dozens still missing

By Lorena Rios, 

Samantha Schmidt and Diana Durán

Updated October 30, 2023 at 4:21 p.m. EDT|Published October 30, 2023 at 1:28 p.m. EDT

Damage wrought by Category 5 Hurricane Otis in Acapulco, Mexico. (Rodrigo Oropeza/AFP/Getty Images)

ACAPULCO, Mexico — Increasingly desperate families continued to search for missing loved onesMonday as authorities raised the official death toll from Hurricane Otis along Mexico’s Pacific Coast to 45.

Forty-seven people remained missing, Guerrero state Gov. Evelyn Salgado told reporters, and about 274,000 homes in the region were damaged or destroyed when the fast-forming Category 5 storm surprised this famed resort city last week with 165-mph winds and lethal flood surges.

Rescue and recovery workers searched the debris with cadaver dogs Monday as authorities continued to assess the destruction.

Residents clean up Saturday after the storm. (David Guzmán/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Otis stunned forecasters last week when it strengthened from a tropical storm to category 5 in 12 hours, the fastest such leap recorded in the region. It made landfall early Wednesday asthe strongest cyclone to hit the country’s Pacific Coast since record-keeping began.

Photos: The damage wrought by Otis

The storm blocked roads and disrupted communications. Around 600 hotels and condominiums were affected, with 80 percent of the hotel industry suffering damage, according to Mexico’s civil defense agency. Around 120 hospitals and clinics have been damaged.

At least 15,000 security forces have been deployed to the region, and around 2,000 technicians are working to restore power. By Monday, 65 percent of the electric service had been restored, authorities said. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Monday he was working with large food distributors to restore the food supply.

But as the government touts its response in López Obrador’s daily news conferences and on social media, people in Acapulco say help has been slow to arrive. Neighbors have been sharing what supplies they have left; supermarkets and department stores have been raided for food and other essentials.

People wait in line for food doled out by soldiers. (David Guzmán/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

Five days after Otis ground its way inland, the large road tunnel that leads to Acapulco remained pitch black on Monday morning, lit only by the headlights of the cars that ventured through. With many traffic lights still out of order, soldiers directed motorists, some driving with shattered windshields, through the busier intersections.

Elsewhere, people stood in long lines to receive aid or buy bus tickets out of the city.

Iliana Melissa Taboada, a 43-year-old lawyer, waited in line with her brother to travel to the nearby town of Chilpancingo to buy milk, eggs, and medicine, and to charge their phones. Her family had been without electricity or water since Wednesday, when Hurricane Otis ripped the tin roof off their two-story home. That night, water rushed into the first floor of their house, reaching shoulder height.

“It was like a scene from the Titanic,” Taboada said. “The moment I tried to open the door to leave the house, more water would come in.”

In the days since, they have relied on their neighbors’ underground wells for water. They haven’t showered. And as they have walked around town searching for any food or water, five days after the storm, they said they had seen little to no government assistance.

Neighbors have teamed up to clean debris off streets in order for technicians to pass through and fix power lines, Taboada said. “Whatever you see cleaned up, it’s been us,” she said.

Tropical storms have erupted in nearly all of the world’s ocean basins

Across town, the stench of decomposed food hung over dusty streets littered with trash, debris, fallen palm trees and loose cables. Restaurants and stores on one tourist strip — a Sunglass Hut, a Tommy Hilfiger store, a McDonald’s — were destroyed. Local residents used downed power lines to cordon off certain streets.

Along the Miguel Alemán Coastal Avenue the destruction went on for miles.

An ecological reserve known as Parque Papagayo, home to many species of wildlife, had become a cemetery of fallen trees. It was unclear whether the animals in the park had survived.

A volunteer accepts supplies at a collection center in Acapulco on Sunday. (Felix Marquez/AP)

Of the 45 people confirmed dead, 16 bodies have been turned over to their families, Salgado said. The dead included three foreigners: One citizen each of the United States, Canada and Britain. The three were residents, Salgado said, not tourists.

With no public transportation and limited phone service, family members here and abroad have struggled to communicate and check in on one another.

Liseth Rodríguez, a 40-year-old waiting for treatment for stomach pains Monday, said a friend living in Canada has been unable to speak with her elderly mother in town. Rodríguez planned to check on the mother of another friend. The friend lives just outside Acapulco but had been unable to reach her mother in the city. It wasn’t until Monday that the friend was able to charge her phone and get in touch with Rodríguez.

Residents formed long lines at a roundabout and huddled around tents for phone reception.

They carried umbrellas to shield themselves from the scorching sun in temperatures that neared 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gladys Nava, 40, woke up at 5:30 a.m. and spent two hours walking and hitchhiking with her 60-year-old father to the coastal area of Acapulco to fill up two 20-liter jugs of water for her three children and herself.

She and her family live in the rural outskirts of Acapulco, where neighbors pitched in to clear the streets of mud and fallen trees. The mattresses in their home had all been soaked in the floodwaters, so they were sleeping on the floor. They needed basic food items such as tortillas and rice, and the price of both staples had skyrocketed since the storm. Nava, who works in the center of Acapulco, had been out of work for almost a week.

“There’s no power, there’s no security,” she said. She said she’d heard neighbors were robbed on dark streets at night. “I don’t go out at night anymore. I stay inside with my children.”

It was midday and she hadn’t yet had anything to eat. With a T-shirt wrapped around her head to protect her from the relentless sun, Nava filled her water jugs and prepared for her long trek home.

By Samantha Schmidt Samantha Schmidt is The Washington Post’s Bogotá bureau chief, covering all of Spanish-speaking South America.  Twitter

By Diana Durán Diana Durán is a news assistant for The Washington Post’s Colombia bureau. She is a Colombian journalist with over 14 years of experience. El Espectador, Colombia’s oldest newspaper, was Durán’s base for most of that time, and she was the first female editor for the Justice Desk. Twitter


Here are some “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks, as well as any extreme precipitation reports:

Here is some new October 2023 climatology:

Here is More Climate and Weather News from Tuesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Today’s News on Sustainable, Traditional Polluting Energy from Fossil Fuel, and the Green Revolution:

More from the Weather Department:

More on the Environment and Nature:

More on Other Science and the Beauty of Earth and this Universe:

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Guy Walton… “The Climate Guy”

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