Caribbean awaits more rain later today

ruta32063015A break in the rainy weather Monday allowed some flood victims to return to their homes and for rescue agencies to distribute food to communities that were cut off by landslides, damaged roads or both.

However, officials were keeping an eye on the weather for today because more rain is predicted.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said that the Nicoya peninsula was battered by heavy rains late Monday and that the central and south Pacific coasts had more moderate rain.

The Pacific rains came from a tropical wave, a low pressure trough, that passed over the country Monday and also a weather system moving north from Panamá.

The weather institute predicted 30 to 60 millimeters, up to 2.5 inches, in the northern zone and along the Caribbean in today’s early morning hours. About half that amount of rain was predicted for the Pacific coast in an 11 p.m. forecast.

The rain was variable, and the weather institute said that an area around Sarapiquí  got 100 millimeters through early Monday. That is about four inches.

The Río Colorado continues to run out of its banks near the country’s northern border, according to the national emergency commission. So were the ríos Telire, Sixaola, Reventazón, Parismina, Pacuare and Sarapiquí

The Servicio Nacional de  Vigilancia Aérea made a number of flights Monday to supply communities that were cut off. The government of Panamá sent helicopters with two crews to assist. They also made deliveries, said the emergency commission.

The Cruz Roja also was active in making distributions.

The number of homes flooded was estimated at 1,585.  Some 18 schools also were flooded or being used as shelters. Some 23 highways suffered major damage as did 11 bridges. Nine roadways continue to be out of service.  Seven dikes failed as did three major water lines.

The major landslide on Ruta 32 took place within  Parque Nacional Braulio Carrillo, so road crews have restrictions on how they can dispose of the debris. The amount was estimated at 4,000 cubic meters, and most has to be trucked away instead of being dumped over the side of the highway as would happen in other locations.

Motorists who have to go to the northern zone or the Caribbean coast can use Ruta 127 through Vera Blanca and  Sarapiquí or Ruta 10 through Turrialba, said the Consejo Nacional de Vialidad.

Rain today would be the fourth system in a week.

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