As the rains diminish strong winds are expected to move in

This washout is at a section of the Interamericana Sur known as Casa Mata. The location is known technically as Kilometer 39. And this is why the highway is closed there at least until later today. Most travelers will be using the Caldera highway and the Costaner Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo

The rains have diminished, but now the weather experts are warning about the possibility of strong winds. The reason would be a high pressure area to the north of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional predicted winds in the 30 to 55 kph, some 19 to 34 mph.

Still there is a probability today on the Pacific coast of rains including some downpours. They may begin before midday, the weather institute said.

Meanwhile there is still a lot of damage for the 12 days of rain that hit the country. The Interamericana Sur is cut at a point called Casa Mata. The collapse of the road took out nearly half the highway, and road officials closed the section for the safety of motorists. They said they were evaluating how to handle the situation. The road ran along a ravine at that point, and the hillside gave way.

The Autopista del Sol, also called the Caldera highway, said that it was able to reopen the section between Orotina and Atenas by 4:30 a.m. Wednesday. Slides had blocked the route.

By late afternoon there still were nearly 1,000 persons in 20 public shelters.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said its priorities Wednesday were in Guanacaste, mainly the cantons of Carrillo and Santa Cruz. But there also were storm victims in Bagaces, La Cruz, Liberia, Cañas, San Ramón, Grecia, Santa Ana and Moravia.

The commission said that 1,589 kilometers of highway were .
affected. That’s about 985 miles. There were 223 places where the highway needed work

A major effort now is to reopen access to those communities that have been cut off by landslides and the collapse of highways and to provide food and drinking water for those who lost domestic water or have polluted wells.

Farmers did not do well. Part of the nation’s rice crop has been destroyed, and there has been damage to vegetable crops, cattle herds and other types of production. In addition, road damage has prevented routine deliveries. Observers expect the price of some products to take a jump due to the agricultural damage.
The damage to export crops still is being assessed.

Throughout Central America more than 100 persons have died as a result of the rain. The toll in Costa Rica is four or five.

The United Nations reported it has approved an emergency cash grant for El Salvador and sent additional staff to the country as it beefs up efforts to help the government respond to severe floods.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that a grant of $50,000 has been approved to support initial relief activities in El Salvador, where floods have claimed 32 lives and caused the evacuation of more than 32,000 people. The country appealed for international assistance Sunday.

In Guatemala, 29 people have died and an estimated 154,000 have been affected, while more than 38,000 people in Honduras have been stricken by the inundations, with 13 reported deaths.

In Nicaragua, 133,858 people have been affected, mainly in the north and the Pacific coastal areas. Of particular concern in Nicaragua are reports of new cases of H1N1 viral infections that have prompted the U.N. World Health Organization to send in a monitoring team.

When road officials talk about landslides, this is what they mean. This one on Ruta 209 just covers one lane. Larger slides can take out whole sections of roadway, vehicles included.

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