Civil defense officials in Panama say the country has already seen three deaths blamed on late-season Tropical Storm Otto.

The agency says two people died in landslides, and a child was killed when a tree fell on a car outside a school in Panama City.

Panama announced Tuesday it was cancelling classes it began to release water from locks and lakes feeding the Panama Canal.

Otto is gained strength in the Caribbean and could become a hurricane soon as it heads for a possible Thursday landfall in Costa Rica or Nicaragua.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm has top sustained winds of 70 mph (110 kph) and is stationary about 260 miles (420 kilometers) east of Limon, Costa Rica..