Slide blocks highway in first hour of unofficial rainy season

What would the unofficial start of the rainy season be without an initial landslide?

The slide was about two miles south of the Río Sucio bridge on Ruta 32, the Braulio Carrillo highway north of San José.

No one was hurt but the highway was blocked. A truck loaded with bananas was caught in the slide, but it remained upright. The mishap took place just about an hour into Tuesday.

Highway officials said they feared other slides. Traffic was backed up for hours awaiting the highway to be cleared when the skies opened up for an afternoon rain. The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad closed the highway overnight.

The highway is a continual trouble spot when rains come. Officials recommended the use of Ruta 10 that goes through Turrialba instead of the mountain road.

Heavy rains lashed the metro area in the evening causing more concerns on the mountain highway. San José saw 38.3 millimeters (about 1.5 inches), mostly between 7 and 10 p.m. At Chirripó in the Talamancas, there was 22.9 millimeters (.98
of an inch) in the early afternoon. Daniel Oduber airport in Liberia got 8.9 millimeters (.35 of an inch) mostly between 4 and 6 p.m. The automatic weather station on Cerro Buenavista
in Pérez Zeledón, registered 45.8 millimeters (1.8 inches) since 7 a.m. Tuesday.

Highway officials have said they believed that the construction of Ruta 32 through the Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo was faulty, and studies are underway to correct the problems.

That is going to require moving millions of yards of material or, as has been proposed, building protective tunnels at the danger spots.

Work crews may get a break today. The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said some storms are predicted for the afternoon in the Central Valley, the Pacific coast with isolated showers predicted for the mountains of the northern zone and the Caribbean. But the extent of the storms predicted was far less than what took place Tuesday.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida, said that there is a large area of disturbed air off the Costa Rican Pacific coast. That is in addition to Tropical Storm Aletta, which is well west in the Pacific.

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