Destructive Rains, High Winds Give C.R. a Break

January 15, 2010

A Caribbean coast cold front that produced heavy rainfall and intense winds there and in the Central Valley during much of this week is on its way out of Costa Rica, the National Meteorology Institute (IMN) reported on Thursday.

IMN officials said that light rains will persist in the Caribbean and the Northern Zone and moderate rains will continue in the mountain regions north and east of the Central Valley.

The front moved across the country toward the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, and meteorologists expect normal rain conditions on Friday. The front increased atmospheric pressure, however, and the IMN expects winds between 20 and 35 kilometers per hour, with gusts as high as 50 kph for the next several days.

Earlier this week, winds peaked at 74 kph, according to the IMN, and ripped the roofs off of 39 homes in the Central Valley, namely in Alajuela and Heredia, the National Emergency Comission (CNE) reported.

Fallen trees lacerated power lines and winds snapped poles that support the wires. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) is in the process of repairing the infrastructure, but on Thursday some residents in Limón continued to report power outages.

Including Thursday’s light showers, the IMN reported that close to 400 millimeters of rain drenched the Caribbean and Northern Zone this week. The Costa Rican Red Cross set up 10 shelters in Heredia and Limón, and, as of Thursday, the shelters were housing a combined 520 evacuees, all whom had been flooded out of their homes.

While heavy rains have dissipated, the IMN reported that many rivers in Heredia and Limón were still swollen beyond their banks late in the week. The CNE has sent a team of engineers to inspect levees and dikes in affected areas and determine if it is safe for evacuees to return to their homes.

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