Country staggers under as much as 15 inches of rain

Overnight rains brought flooding, slide and other problems to nearly the entire country. Some 468 persons were in shelters and some roads were closed.

Tomas, which has been downgraded to a tropical depression, moved slightly north and is starting to reorganize, said the U.S. Nacional Hurricane Center, based on a U.S. Air Force flyover at 1 p.m. Maximum sustained winds are 35 mph (55 kph)

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional reported overnight rains in the Central Valley of from between 40 to 75 millimeter (1.6 to 2.75 inches) and from 200 to 390 millimeters (7.9 to 15.3 inches) on the Pacific coast with the highest amount in the central Pacific. On the Caribbean coast and the northern zone accumulated rainfall was reported to be from 30 to 40 millimeters (1.2 to 1.6 inches).

A reader near Dominical confirmed the incredible 15 inches of rain in the 24 hours ending at 5 a.m. on top of the 3.3 inches in the previous 24 hours.

The weather institute predicted more intermittent rain today and said the following were areas of continued possible flooding:

The Nicoya peninsula, Santa Elena, Esparza, Barranca, Jacó, Herradura, Parrita, Tárcoles, Quepos, Dominical, San Isidro del General, Puerto Cortez, Palmar Norte, Golfito and Puerto Jiménez.

The majority of those forced from their homes were in the Quepos area, said the national emergency commission. That section of the central Pacific coast was the most affected, officials said.
The meteorology institute said the rainy weather would continue through Thursday.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the highway agency, said workers were trying to reopen national roads at Cerro de la Muerte, at Monte de Aguacate, between Quepos and Manuel Antonio, in Parrita, at Jacó and the stretch between Zarcero and San Carlos.

At Cerro de la Muerte in the Painer sector, the agency said a major slide closed the road. The Interamericana Sur also was closed in several spots south of Buenos Aires de Puntarenas.

Vehicles were using an alternate route as a slide blocked passage between Quepos and Manuel Antonio. The agency said several days would be needed to clear this spot.

Between Zarcero and San Carlos the agency already had heavy machinery at work clearing a previous slide, so workers quickly reopened the road partly.

Ruta 32, the San José-Limón highway remained open but the possibility exists that the stretch through the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo will be closed if the weather worsens, the agency said. The slide potential is high. A road between Puriscal and Parrita also is closed.

A bridge over the Río La Penca in San Rafael de Guatuso collapsed, but highway authorities are blaming a truck loaded with wood that snagged part of the span instead of the weather.

Both the Interamericana Norte and the Autopista del Sol were reported to be operating normally.

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