Tropical storm and low pressure area expected to interact

he nation’s weather experts say that a low pressure system along the Caribbean coast will interact with Tropical Storm Tomas, which still is headed this way, and that heavy rains will last through Thursday in the provinces of Guanacaste and Puntarenas.

Tomas, described as being just barely a tropical storm, is playing chicken with Costa Rica. It continues on a west to northwest path. Forecasters expect the storm to do a sharp right turn and zero in on Haiti and Jamaica.

As of 1 a.m. today the storm was still just north of Colombia in the Caribbean.

The central Pacific coast already as been hit hard. The national emergency commission reported that 152 persons had been placed in three shelters by mid-afternoon. The rains have continued and seemed to strengthen in the early morning.

The commission issued an alert for the Pacific coast and the Central Valley. The Quepos area got 100 millimeters, nearly four inches by midday Tuesday.

The most affected areas were Quepos, Parrita and Jacó on the Central Pacific coast and Santa Cruz on the north Pacific shore of Guanacaste. Some 80 persons were in a shelter at the Escuela de Río Seco in Santa Cruz. Some 22
were children. Other shelters were in Parrita and in Pueblo Nuevo.

Parrita residents were walking around in knee-deep water and many homes were flooded.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias and its local committees were working through the night.

Tomas was reported with sustained winds of 45 mph or 65 kph, according to the U.S. Nacional Hurricane Center. A U.,S. Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft took measurements late Tuesday. The center said forecasters expect the storm to strengthen. The world’s eyes are on struggling Haiti where heavy rains would be a disaster for the many earthquake victims still in tents.

Atlantic storms typically make a turn to the north as they approach Costa Rica, which usually only suffers indirect effects. The hurricane center said it expected this turn within the next 48 hours.

On the central Pacific Coast, workers were expected to continue today trying establish a temporary route around Costanera Sur highway damage at Ventanas between Uvita and Palmar Norte. The Consejo de Vialidad, the highway agency, said that the work could be delayed by heavy rains. The storm generated flooding that washed out a section of drainage pipes.

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