Hurricane Otto battered Nicaragua and Costa Rica with powerful winds and torrential rains on Friday, damaging homes, forcing thousands to evacuate and causing an undetermined number of deaths.

The hurricane, which weakened rapidly after hitting the southeastern coast of Nicaragua, became a tropical storm by early Friday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, as dangerous flooding continued in both countries.

In Costa Rica, President Luis Guillermo Solis said late Thursday there had been a number of deaths, but added it was too early to say how many people had died.

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