Afternoon thunderstorm floods downtown San José

September 25, 2015

Looks like the rain finally showed up. A torrential downpour Friday afternoon left several blocks of downtown San José underwater.

The flood on Second Avenue in front of Barrio Chino’s iconic friendship gate trapped taxis and buses as water lapped at the fenders of smaller cars. Business owners tried in vain to bail out their shops or construct makeshift walls to keep the water out.

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Marcelo Solano, director of the San José Municipal Police and acting head of city Public Services, told The Tico Times that the city did not yet know the exact cause of Friday’s flooding but said that there were likely several causes, from trash blocking drains to the natural low point in the city where Barrio Chino lies between Parque Morazán and Plaza Víquez.

Solano said that flooding has become a regular concern for the businesses and residents of Barrio Chino for the last year. After a new sewer in Los Yoses was completed the system has increased the amount of water flowing into the rest of the sewer system, which meets under Barrio Chino, he said. The result has been occasional flooding along the walking boulevard, but Friday’s flooding was extreme.

“The rains are short but they’re intense,” Solano said, “We’re taking it seriously.” He added that Mayor Sandra García Pérez had called a meeting of city engineers the previous week asking for solutions to the flooding problem.

Solano said that besides Barrio Chino there were also reports of flooding in Los Olivos, San Sebastián and Hatillo 2.

The flooding was intense but Solano said the only thing to do was wait for it to drain naturally. Roughly an hour after the worst of the flooding, around 3:00 p.m., the water had already fallen considerably.

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