San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Hurricane Irene to bring stormy weather to Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission (CNE) has declared a Green Alert for the Pacific coast and Central Valley in anticipation of flooding caused by Hurricane Irene. This is the lowest of the country’s three alert levels.

Hurricane Irene, a Category 3 storm, pounded the Bahamas on Wednesday with gale force winds of 193 kilometers an hour (120 miles). The storm’s current trajectory moves the system northwest and Irene is expected to hit the east coast of the United States by Friday. Some forecasts have Irene becoming a Category 4 storm by Thursday.

Although the hurricane is far from Costa Rica, Irene will affect parts of the country with heavy rains and wind.

According to The National Meteorology Institute (IMN), heavy rainfall is expected for the Central and South Pacific regions over the next couple days. The mountainous areas of the Northern Zone and the Caribbean can expect scattered showers, while the Central Valley will receive intermittent rain of varying intensity. The plains and coastal areas may avoid the storm altogether.

The IMN recommends caution in areas of the country where rivers and streams are prone to flash flooding. The constant precipitation could trigger mudslides in the mountains of the Central Valley and Central and South Pacific regions. Also, visibility on the roads will be greatly reduced by high winds.

This weather system is expected to linger through Thursday.

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