Rains slacken somewhat, but dangers still exist

This structure is on Ruta 126 between Santa Bárbara de Heredia and Vara Blanca. It has been undermined by the collapse of the hillside on which it stands. This is a typical situation in the country with homes in Desamparados and elsewhere facing the same problem. Ministerio de Obras Públicas y Transportes photo

The rivers still are rising. More landslides are possible. And most Costa Ricans are sick of the rain. But the rains did slacken Monday and highway officials have made inroads in opening up blocked roads.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that there was from 40 to 70 millimeters of rain in sections of the country Monday. That is from 1.6 to 2.76 inches, far less than the 5.3 inches (136.1 millimeters) that fell Sunday in Santa Rosa or the 70 millimeters that fell in just three hours on a section of the Caribbean coast.

Still, the weather service said that the rain would continue through the first half of this week.

Highway worker has his foot inserted into an ominous crack in the Interamericana Norte highway 6 kilometers west of San Ramón where officials have closed the route. A.M. Costa Rica. Dean Killian

Among other problems, that will hamper efforts to open up the Interamericana Norte some six kilometers west of San Ramón de Alajuela and 100 meters east of the El Empalme. A reader who inspected the site said that no vehicles were being allowed through and that repairs probably would take one or two more days. The ground under the highway gave way.

With the Interamericana closed, the only truck route west is the Caldera highway which was hit with at least three landslides. Some still block lanes of the toll road, but traffic continues.

The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the road agency, continues to maintain a call center where motorists can find out road conditions. The numbers are 2202-5567 and 2202-5577.

The agency said it already spent about $4 million at 206 highway trouble spots. As of 7 p.m. there still were 141 locations that presented problems, according to the road agency. There were 14 routes that were closed due to collapse, landslides or damaged bridges, it said.

Some 200 persons were evacuated from Bebedero and Bagaces in Guanacaste Sunday night due to flooding. The Comisión Nacional de Prevención de Riesgos y Atención de Emergencias reported that nationwide there were 600 persons in shelters.

Officials also are reporting that at least four persons have died in weather related mishaps, mainly drowning while trying to cross a flooding river.

Weather alerts continue, and geologists have identified 30 homes in the metro area that have been damaged by slides. Several homes in Desamparados appear ready to tumble into a river.

The problem is caused by a low pressure area that is now located between the Yucatan peninsula in México and the U.S. state of Florida.

Although far away, the system is pushing humidity into the country from the Pacific.

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