Thursday rains cause flooding, emergencies in 23 cantons

October 7, 2016

Heavy rains in Costa Rica caused by the indirect influence of Hurricane Matthew prompted the evacuation of 153 people on Thursday evening in three provinces, the National Emergency Commission (CNE) reported.

Emergency agencies on Thursday attended 100 incidents at homes, public roads and buildings in 23 cantons in the provinces of Cartago, Heredia and the capital San José.

The CNE opened five temporary shelters in Cartago to host evacuees from the Cartago cantons of La Unión, Turrialba, Paraíso, El Guarco and Central Cartago.

Persistent rainfall in the capital flooded several streets and homes, mostly south and west of downtown San José in Barrio Luján, La Uruca and Hatillo.

Showers also caused some rivers in the capital to overflow, causing bridges, streets and homes to flood in 16 communities, the Municipality of San José reported.

The Traffic Police reported at 9 p.m. Thursday that they had attended a total of 95 accidents and other incidents on roads caused by flooding and overflowing rivers.

The Costa Rican Railroad Institute (INCOFER) suspended the train service in Cartago as flooding left rocks and mud along various stretches of the railroad.

INCOFER also cancelled all Friday morning trips between Heredia and San José to clean debris from the railroad.

The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) estimated cumulative rainfall recorded Thursday was between 30 and 120 millimeters (1 and 5 inches).

The agency noted that rainfall levels recorded in the country on Wednesday and Thursday represent 50 percent of the average rainfall during the month of October.

More rains coming

The IMN said the influence here of Hurricane Matthew is expected to dissipate on Friday.

Rains however will continue over the weekend. An IMN forecast on Friday morning stated that heavy showers with thunderstorms will resume on Friday evening.

The IMN stated that these showers are not influenced by Matthew but by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, a band of clouds, showers and thunderstorms that encircles the globe near the equator.

The heaviest rains are expected over communities in the Central Valley, the Pacific region, Northern Zone and the mountainous areas of the Caribbean.

IMN estimates rainfall levels on Friday will range between 30 and 60 mm (1 and 2.5 inches), although rain could be heavier in some areas.

CNE officials recommend that the population remain alert and monitor nearby sewers and rivers.

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