Hurricane Otto, the seventh hurricane of the Atlantic season, prompted ports in Panama to close and harbour movements throughout the Central America region to be suspended.
Port Cristobal and Manzanillo International Terminal in Panama ceased operations and Panama officials issued a red alert warning as the storm progressed towards Central America.
Associated heavy rainfall has led the Panama Canal Authority to open 13 of 14 of the Gatun water dam gates to prevent excessive flooding.
Earlier in the week the rain claimed four people’s lives in Panama, two in mudslides, one from a falling tree and one swept away in a river.
As of Thursday, Otto was being forecast by the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) to reach the Panama and Costa Rica border and southern Nicaragua by Friday.
On Thursday Otto was registering sustained wind speed of 75 knots and gusts of 90 knots.
The coastal cities most likely in its path are Limon in Costa Rica and Bluefields in Nicaragua.