a new threat surprise hurricanes

Hurricane Otis, which killed more than two dozen people in southern Mexico this week, exemplified a phenomenon that meteorologists fear will become more and more common: a severe hurricane that arrives with little warning or time to prepare.

Judson Jones, who covers natural disasters for The Times, explains why Hurricane Otis packed such an unexpected punch.

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Judson Jones, who covers natural disasters and Earth’s changing climate for The New York Times.

A car, part submerged in water among other debris and rubble, with tall buildings on the edge of a bay in the background.
Otis made landfall along the Pacific Coast of Mexico around Acapulco this week, pummeling the resort with shocking ferocity.Getty Images/Getty Images
  • On Tuesday morning, few meteorologists were talking about Otis. By Wednesday morning, the “catastrophic storm” had left a trail of destruction in Mexico and drawn attention from around the globe. What happened?

  • The hurricane, one of the more powerful Category 5 storms to batter the region, created what one expert called a “nightmare scenario” for a popular tourist coastline.

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Judson Jones contributed reporting.

Fact-checking by Susan Lee.

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