Conditions improve as many return home along the Caribbean

Consejo Nacional de Vialidad photo
Pedestrian bridge at La Suiza might be salvaged.

Weather conditions improved Tuesday, and the number of Caribbean residents stranded in public shelters declined as flood waters receded. There still were more than 900 being housed, said the national emergency commission.

Cruz Roja workers located the body of another man in Matina, and another body was found in Sixaola, bringing the fatality count for the weekend rains to five.

The commission expects to continue to assess the damage.

President Laura Chinchilla toured the area around Turrialba Tuesday, and the sun was shining brightly.

There still is a chance of more rain on the Caribbean coast, but the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said conditions would be typical of this time of year, the start of the rainy season.

Bridges were damaged in El Poró, Tuis, Colonias de la Suiza and Quebrada Túnel in Campabadal de Turrialba. There also was damage to rail lines in Matina.

Damage to roadways has been extensive. The Consejo Nacional de Vialidad, the road agency, said it already has spent 500 million colons, abut $1 million, in the province of Limón alone clearing highways and reinforcing roadways.

Ruta 36, which parallels the Caribbean coast is closed due to a slide four kilometers before the entrance to Bribri. There is a temporary alternate route, said the road agency. Ruta 805 at Matina needs to be resurfaced, and this will be done this weekend, the agency said.

Much of the road damage was in the Turrialba vicinity. Ruta 10, the usual alternative route from San José to the Caribbean has been reopened but there are some spots where the traffic flow is reduced. Ruta 225 to the Pejibaye bridge has been reopened but there are sections that still are dangerous for motorists, said the agency.

A low pressure system that was accompanying a tropical wave in the Atlantic has veered to the north to bring rain to Bermuda and then to Cuba. But a new system has developed in the mid-Atlantic that forecasters are watching.

All over the Caribbean coast and the northern zone residents who have returned to their homes are moving mud and cleaning out the damage caused by slides. An emergency commission geologist flew over critical areas Tuesday.

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