Tropical Storm Otto is Soaking Us

We don’t get hurricanes in Panama! We don’t get tropical storms either. Well… never say never. We haven’t seen the sun for six days. It has been raining for most of that time and it is becoming a real problem. Rivers are flooding and hillsides of mud are falling on to roads. People are being flooded out of their homes, areas are closed, and two teenagers were washed away and drowned in a river.

Tropical Storm Otto has been slowly making its way towards us, and is expected to become a category 1 hurricane before it makes landfall. Thankfully for us it is heading west and will probably land in Costa Rica or Nicaragua, but of course this is very bad for our neighbors. We are definitely feeling the effects in Panama though with tons of rain and more expected. The president and the media are warning everyone to stay out of rivers and streams, and out of flooded areas for safety.


We live about where the little red arrow points so you can see we are definitely being affected by the storm. There are purple outlines for the countries. Costa Rica is next door to the northwest, and Nicaragua is above it.

It sure has been a lot cooler also. Temperatures have been pretty much low 70’s, day and night. Everything feels so wet because of the high humidity. A bit of water on my outside table sits there unchanged day after day. We usually have the sun in the first half of the day to warm and dry everything, but not lately.


Here is a more colorful and dramatic picture for you. I remember in 2012 when I first arrived we had four days of rain as a hurricane passed above us. Who would have thought that one would actually land this close to us? Thankfully it is a rare thing. I worry about our neighbors though, and all the people who have very little and could be devastated by a bad storm.



About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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21 Responses to Tropical Storm Otto is Soaking Us

  1. I selected ‘like’ but don’t like this news at all. Had just read another news feed and then saw your post as well. Thanks for the update, and I hope you don’t have to endure another week of heavy rains.

    Are Debbie and Ron still ‘afar’? Seems they’re going to be from one ‘earth event’ to another…


    • Word is we may start to dry out by Friday. We shall see. As of yesterday Deb and Ron were posting on Facebook from down under. Yeah really though, first the earthquake there and now this. I am afraid for their beautiful island and those sweet people. I remember the land slide after heavy rains not that long ago that took out a whole town. The storm will probably hit somewhere near the Costa Rica / Nicaragua border on the Pacific side but it’s still going to be a big thing as it comes across the country. There are so many poor people in the path who can’t afford to have their homes and crops and lives destroyed by this.


      • OMG! As I started to respond to your post, we had an earthquake! We are in Christchurch, New Zealand. We left Wellington on the North Island this morning and there was some damage there with many cracks and buildings closed. Now, we are closer to the center of the earthquake from last week. There are lots of after shocks and it is kind of scary.
        Now, we are worried about the hurricane and our house in Nicaragua. It looks like the eye will pass right over Ometepe. I sure hope everyone is going to be OK. I am worried.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Oh good heavens! You don’t need this kind of excitement in your travels. I worry a lot about Ometepe too. We have seen what heavy rains did in the past, and if you add a lot of wind to that? I quickly came to love your neighbors and I hope they come through all right, and I hope your house does well too. I think the main danger would be a mango tree falling over and they don’t seem to do that very much, judging by the size of the ancient trees we have around here.

          Liked by 1 person

      • A friend of mind has a fishing lodge on the CR side of the border… His hands are surely full right now…. No word from my Guanacaste friends – hope they’re just busy preparing – sat image last night showed the area clear . hopefully Otto will be gentle…

        Thanks for your update – greatly appreciated…


  2. Hi Kris
    I check the weather there every day and noticed the temperatures and rain fall. I’m only two weeks out now so while I sympathize with your plight…it snow here yesterday and we barely made it over 32 degrees F today, I do expect you to have the weather back to normal before I arrive. LOL

    Seriously I pray that everyone stays safe.



    • Snow? Eeewww! I guarantee you that there will be no snow here. I will tell the storm to get moving so things will be much more normal when you arrive. Then you can complain that you feel like you are melting to death as you get more adjusted to our normal climate. 😀


  3. Laureen MacDonald says:

    I’ll keep Panama and her neighbors in my thoughts and prayers. We only had a small amount of flooding in our area of Mexico this past rainy season, but it does not take much of an excess to do damage and threaten lives. Hope you see the sun soon!


    • Thank you 🙂
      Panama is used to a lot of rain so they give the rivers a lot of room to rise. This is unusual even for us though. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. I am very concerned for our neighbors to the north if/when this storm hits them.


  4. Anonymous says:

    hope you’re well! it’s just been raining like crazy, but not a hurricane, in the north of Dominican Republic! my husband is there right now and i’m quite worried.
    here is a link to one of the dominican newspapers with articles of the last few days.
    stay safe!


    • Oh my, I’m sure they are seeing a ton of rain there too. I don’t think it’s expected to get to hurricane strength until it gets close to land near here, but it still can rain like crazy. The worst of it should be leaving your husband’s area very soon though, so he should be OK. Hang in there!


  5. mcmoller says:

    Reblogged this on Our Third Life-Pedasi, Panama and commented:
    Pedasí has probably has had its share of rain also every day. The US Embassy has issued a warning of heavy rainfall, gusty winds, flooding, mudslides, and large waves that could raise the water levels due to Tropical Storm Otto. May be a very wet Thanksgiving.


    • Yeah really. This is quite late in the season to have such a storm, and then down here?? Who would have thought. I hope you aren’t in danger of flooding, and don’t even think of going to the beach!

      Liked by 1 person

      • mcmoller says:

        Agree. Nearby Torio has been completely flooded out twice because the rivers have overflowed. Many families lost everything. More rain than I have ever seen since moving here 3 years ago. Some say more than they have seen 7 years ago. Had to wash down walls for the first time due to mold developing from so much moisture & humidity. We can use the rain though, and I like the cooler weather. Dry season should be coming next month.


        • Don Ray of chiriquichatter said it’s more rain than he’s seen in his 14 years here. The cooler weather is nice but I’m getting tired of the humidity too. I have heard the dry season may be late this year. We shall see…

          Liked by 1 person

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  7. Suzanne says:

    Stay safe Kris! Hopefully you will not be affected by high winds or any flooding. We survived a tropical storm and 2 cat. 1 hurricanes during our time in the Turks and Caicos. Flooding was a huge issue, especially when backing onto a canal as we were , and you have a 13 foot storm surge! The major highway was under water due to lack of drainage infrastructure for several days making it very difficult to get help where needed. Hoping the storm will pass quickly and that you manage to stay dry!


    • We will be fine here. We are way too high above the river to get flooded, and I think too far from the center of the storm to have dangerous winds. But, flooding is the main issue throughout the area and others are being badly affected.


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