Quakes and high seas are reasons for alerts

The national emergency commission has declared an alert in the Upala area due to slides and cracks in the soil following a string of earthquakes Tuesday and Wednesday. And another alert has been issued for the Pacific coast due to high seas.

The Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica said there were 90 aftershocks Tuesday and Wednesday following the 5.3 magnitude major quake. A map by the observatory shows the quakes clustered midway between Upala and Liberia in the volcanic central mountains.

The emergency commission said that fears about slides blocking the Río Guacalito were diminished after experts conducted an overflight of the area early Wednesday. The river course appeared to be normal, the commission said.

However, there still were 25 homes with some damage by the quake and at least one that is now uninhabitable due to ground slippage, the commission said.

Meanwhile, the commission said another problem has developed on the Pacific coast. There are predictions of high seas and strong winds. The commission issued what amounted to a small boat warning for the rest of the week.

A boat did overturn Wednesday just a few yards from the Paseo de los Turistas promenade in Puntarenas. Some 15 tourists were aboard. The boat is the Cocal II, which was overloaded, said the Servicio Nacional de Guardacostas, which responded. Only one person actually was dumped into the water, they said. The mishap was attributed to a strong wave.

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