Severe rains caused by a low-pressure system that entered Costa Rica over the weekend prompted the National Emergency Commission (CNE) to issue a Preventive — Green— Alert for the whole country starting Tuesday.
CNE Operations Director Walter Fonseca said in a news release that they made the decision after analyzing forecasts from the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) for the coming days.
On Tuesday morning, the IMN reported that the low-pressure system, plus a tropical wave that entered the country on Monday, will likely maintain heavy rains through Thursday.
Fonseca said they issued the warning as a result of this forecast and because soils currently are saturated by rainfall from the past three days.
Flooding and roadway perils
Fonseca said that since the weekend the CNE has received reports of flooding, landslides and other incidents from all seven provinces.
Floods prompted the evacuation of various families in San José and Guanacaste. At least 25 people spent the weekend at temporary shelters in those provinces, Fonseca said.
CNE and Red Cross officials also reported flooding in downtown Cartago and at various communities to the west and north of that city. Overflowing rivers flooded houses and washed out a stretch of the road in Tucurrique, between Cartago and Turrialba.
In the early hours of Tuesday, a car fell into the river on that collapsed stretch of road.
Overflowing rivers in the Pacific province of Puntarenas flooded roads and houses in Paquera and at least 40 rooms of the Tambor Beach hotel in the southern part of the Nicoya Peninsula.
Intense showers also caused landslides on Route 27, the main road connecting San José and Puntarenas.
The administrator of that highway, Globalvía, reported that heavy rains prompted the falling of debris at kilometer 28, and that fog banks had reduced visibility on various stretches of the road on Monday and Tuesday evening.
Landslides also closed a stretch of Route 239 in Puriscal, southwest of San José, and over the bridge of the Peñas Blancas River in La Fortuna de San Carlos in the Northern Zone.
The IMN forecasts state that intermittent showers with lightning storms and occasional strong gusts will continue through Wednesday and Thursday. These conditions will be present mostly along the Pacific region, the Central Valley, the mountainous areas of the Caribbean region and the Northern Zone.
CNE officials called on people to remain vigilant and increase security measures. In particular, the agency asks that all people living areas near rivers and mountainous areas exercise cautionbecause of a risk of landslides.