Otto strengthens into hurricane, edges closer to Central America

(Graphic: WKRN)
(Graphic: WKRN)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Forecasters say Otto has gained hurricane status in the Carribbean as it edges closer to parts of Central America.

The Miami-based U.S. National Hurricane Center says Otto strengthened Tuesday and now has top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph). The forecasters say the storm is centered about 235 miles (375 kilometers) east of Limon, Costa Rica.

Otto is also about 305 miles (485 kilometers) east-southeast of Bluefields, Nicaragua. It is moving west at 2 mph (4 kph) after being almost stationary earlier Tuesday.

The hurricane center says Colombia has issued a tropical storm warning for San Andres Island. Nicaragua has posted a tropical storm watch for that Central American nation from Bluefields to Sandy Bay Sirpi. Some other areas in the region also under a tropical storm watch or warning.

Forecasters say more strengthening is expected in coming days.