Little relief from rains and slides expected until Wednesday

The rain put a damper on all sorts of activities. This was a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Instituto de Desarrollo Agrario downtown Friday. But the weekend soccer games went on as scheduled. A.M. Costa Rica/Shahrazad Encinias

The national weather institute said Sunday night that the current rainy conditions are expected to last until Wednesday.

That is not good news for more than 300 persons in public shelters or those whose homes are in jeopardy below water-soaked mountain sides.

Sunday’s rain was accompanied by chilly weather in much of the country. In Santa Rosa, for example, in the north Pacific, the temperature hovered between 21 C. (about 70 degrees F) and 22.8 C (about 73 degrees F).

But the worst part was the rain. The national emergency commission said that Guanacaste continues to be hit hard and that heavy rains also fell in the northern part of the Central Valley, including Grecia.

Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Guanacaste got between 63 millimeters of rain (some 2.5 inches) up to 136.1 millimeters (5.3 inches) in Santa Rosa. The northern zone got 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) in 24 hours and 70 millimeters (2.76 inches) fell in just three hours on parts of the Caribbean coast late Sunday afternoon.

Rivers continue to rise, said the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional. There was concern about more flooding.

The Ministerio de Obras Pública y Transportes said that most of the roads that had been closed by slides and other problems were open. The Caldera highway has been reduced in one place to a single lane because crews are still cleaning up a slide that closed the toll road over the weekend.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad instituted telephone lines for the public where motorists could learn the condition of the highways. A Web page that usually carries that information is inactive. The numbers are 2202-5567
and 2202-5577. They are in service from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

By Sunday night the Consejo said that only nine of an earlier 142 problem highways were still closed. Most highways were affected by slides, but several bridges were damaged or destroyed, too.

The rainy week began as the result of a tropical depression in the Pacific. Then in the Caribbean another low pressure area developed. That system now is centered between the Yucatan peninsula of México and Florida, but the effects are being felt here.

The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias said that Guanacaste and the northern zone were getting the brunt with towns cut off and many areas flooded.

Santa Cruz, Liberia, Carrillo in Guanacaste and Grecia, San Ramón, Alajuela and Mora were listed as being affected by flooding, slides and communities being isolated. There also is flooding lingering in Golfito. Shelters are there, in Puntarenas Centro, Poás, Santa Ana, San Ramón, Carrillo and Santa Cruz.

The emergency commission has continued an alert for the Pacific coast and the Central Valley.

Commission geologists inspected several landslide areas. They are Chitaría and Tapezco in Santa Ana, La Cascabela in Alajuelita, Burío in Aserrí and El Tablazo in Desamparados. As a result, the commission decided to evacuate six families in Desamparados. They were in a high-risk area. Another evacuation was being attempted in Salitral in Santa Ana.

The commission sought to relocate 80 persons in Matinilla de Salitral de Santa Ana, but some would not leave their homes. Only 21 persons showed up at a shelter set up for that purpose in Piedades de Santa Ana.

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