With Hurricane Otto sitting in the Southwest Caribbean sea right now and slowly moving westward toward Central America, the thought comes to mind that this storm will likely stay intact as it crosses land into the Pacific Ocean.
Well, the hurricane season in the Eastern Pacific has its own set of storm names. So, what becomes of Otto if it survives the crossover to the other basin?
First of all, where it crosses will play a role as to why this is even being discussed. Because it is so far south, the geography of Central America along the Nicaragua/Costa Rica border is both narrow and not terribly mountainous. High mountains are found in Costa Rica farther south and in Nicaragua farther north.
So, the combination of this geography and how the storm is moving, or will be moving (westward) leads to this unique circumstance.
Over the history of named storms, this has only happened 10 times. The most recent was in 1996 when Tropical Storm Cesar in the Caribbean moved into the Pacific Ocean. When that occurred, it took on the next name on the list in the Pacific, so its name changed from Cesar to Douglas.
However, since then, these rules have changed and if the system remains a tropical cyclone as it moves across Central America, then it will keep the original name. So, in this case, since Otto will likely survive the trek across Central America, it will remain Otto in the Eastern Pacific.
Only if the tropical cyclone dissipates with just a tropical disturbance remaining, will the system get a new name assuming it becomes a tropical cyclone once again in its new basin.
Just one of those things we think about here in the Weather on the Nines Weather Center.