San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Weather alert

‘Extreme’ Pacific winds create dangerous conditions for boaters, swimmers

Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission issued warnings Tuesday for “extreme” winds and rough seas on the country’s Pacific coast following forecasts by the University of Costa Rica’s Center for Research in Marine Sciences and Limnology. CIMAR forecast gusts of more than 88 km/h on the northern Pacific coast, creating dangerous conditions for boating.

CIMAR forecast less severe conditions for Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast.

The CNE recommended “extreme precaution” for this week, Monday, Feb. 8, through Sunday, Feb. 14, especially in Costa Rica’s northwestern province of Guanacaste. Conditions are expected to be the most extreme in northern Guanacaste and descend in intensity farther south along the Pacific coast. Winds along the coast of Guanacaste are expected to gust between 68 km/h and 88 km/h, and waves could reach 4.7 meters high.

The warning said that conditions were “dangerous” for small and medium-sized vessels.

In the port city of Puntarenas waves are forecast to be average but winds will be strong, blowing up to 85 km/h at times. The rest of the Central Pacific and Southern Pacific is forecast to have low to average waves and winds.

CIMAR said that conditions in the mouth of the Gulf of Nicoya presented “extreme risk” for small and medium-sized boats.

Sailors on the Caribbean face less severe conditions but should still be careful this week, according to CNE and CIMAR. Waves are expected to range from high to very high, cresting at over 4 meters, and winds could gust to 35 km/h. Small boats less than 7 meters long should be especially careful and swimmers should be wary of rip tides.

Extreme winds can be dangerous. In January, a tourist boat with 32 aboard capsized in rough seas in the Corn Islands off Nicaragua’a Caribbean coast, killing 13 Costa Rican tourists. In January 2015, a catamaran capsized in the Gulf of Nicoya, killing three tourists from Canada, Great Britain and the United States.

Winds in Guanacaste downed a tree at the Santa Rosa National Park Tuesday, temporarily closing part of the park to visitors.

Contact Zach Dyer at zdyer@ticotimes.net

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