Yet another low-pressure system threatens country

Yellow circles are low pressure areas that can develop into something more. Photo: U.S. Hurricane Center graphic.

Sorry, folks, the great days of the last week do not signal an early arrival of the dry season. Nature is just playing.

There is another low-pressure area affecting the country now, and there is another weather alert.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional issued a special bulletin Sunday night reporting that the low-pressure area was close to the country in the southeast Caribbean. It predicted rains of varying intensities in the northern zone, the Caribbean coast, the Pacific coast and the Central Valley.

In fact, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday were rainy.

Rain in the mountains is causing rivers to rise, the weather institute said. It listed the rios Salto, Caño Negro, San Carlos and Chirripó.

Highway officials have warned that the soil is saturated still from weeks of rain. There is a probability of landslides and other rain-caused problems. it said.

Nevertheless, the Autopista del Sol between San José and Caldera opened the Atenas-Orotina link Sunday morning That stretch had been closed due to landslides and a collapse of part of the roadway. Two bailey bridges are not carrying traffic over the washed away portion of the two-lane highway. Government officials said they have told the holder of the highway concession that tolls should not be collected at the Atenas plaza until the highway is returned to normal conditions.

There also are reports of more landslides on the highway, although traffic is not blocked.

Not just the landslides are dangerous. A father and daughter died Friday night on Ruta 32 several kilometers north of the Zurquí tunnel when a boulder the size of a small car flattened the vehicle.

The dead were Hernán Bustamenta, 24, and a year-old daughter. They were buried over the weekend. A.M. Costa Rica reported the accident in a special Saturday morning update. They were headed to Sarapiquí for the weekend. Officials closed the highway for a time and said the dangerous areas remain under 24-hour watch.

The U.S. Hurricane Information Center said Sunday that the low-pressure area is moving slowly west or northwest at about 5 to 10 mph. The center said that there was a 20 percent chance that the system would become a tropical cyclone during the next two days. The center said that the system would reach land within a day or two.

The Atlantic hurricane season is supposed to end Nov. 30, and December rains are supposed to be transitional to the arrival of the dry season.

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