RESIDENTS of the Central Valleybraced themselves this week against bitinggusts of wind and a dismal chill forthis region that usually hovers aroundroom temperature.Ticos throughout San José bundledthemselves in sweaters, scarves and mittensto ward off the cold – the thermometerdropped to a low of 14.6°C (58.3°F) inSan José Monday and floundered there,not topping 21°C (70°F) all week.A cold front passed through theCaribbean – the last delivery from theNorth Pole to round out the holiday season,or so said, in not so many words,meteorologist José Manuel Montoya, ofthe National Meteorological Institute.Temperature are expected to increasetoday. Winds of 40-60 kilometers per hourover land wreaked havoc on electricitylines. In San José, branches and treespushed over by the wind knocked downnine power line poles on Monday alone.The National Power and Light Company(CNFL) reported damages to 37 sectors inthe capital with power outages that lastedfrom 30 minutes to 6 hours.Wind and light rains in the Caribbeanslope complicated efforts to assist thethousands of people displaced by lastweek’s severe floods. The NationalEmergency Commission (CNE) maintaineda red alert this week throughoutthat region as a precaution against riversthreatening to flood again, and more than2,000 people remained in temporary shelterswhere they had moved the weekbefore (TT, Jan. 14).The wind left boat tour operators inthe northern and central Pacific coast distraught– Calypso Tours cancelled tripsout of the port town of PuntarenasTuesday, which a company representativesaid happens less than once per year,because of strong winds.However, high winds there are normalthis time of year, said sailors further northin the province of Guanacaste.“We get serious strong winds, theyjust whip through there,” said BruceMckillican, owner of Catamaran SailingAdventures in Tamarindo. “It makes forinteresting sailing.”Captain Mark Anton Bjorklund saidgusts blow up to 70 miles per hour in someareas, whipping up waves that push thefishermen further south to calmer waters forthe first three months of the year. The windgathers balls of water towering up to 10feet high, called “bowling balls,” that rollover the surface of the sea, he said.See page 23 for next week’s weatherforecast.