Rains expected to continue in northern zone

Rains stopped in much of the Central Valley about 8 p.m. Sunday, but the weather forecast for the northern zone and the northern part of the province of Limón  was for much more rain.

The northern zone and parts of Limón were hit with from one to two inches of rain over the weekend, and rain in the mountains caused rivers to run out of their banks. Some communities had waist-deep water.

The Instituto Meteorológico Nacional said Sunday night that from two to four more inches of rain were expected in those areas that already are reeling.

The rain was supposed to intensify overnight, and the accumulation of rain was estimated for 12 hours.

The northern and southern Pacific also were supposed to get an inch of rain, the weather institute said.

That would be welcome because the institute’s automatic weather stations showed little rain in Guanacaste and other Pacific communities over the weekend. These are the areas that are in the midsts of a prolonged drought.

The national emergency commission announced an alert Sunday, and three shelters were activated for those forced from their homes. The estimate was about 250 flood refugees in  Chilamate, Horquetas, El Tigre and Naranjales de Sarapiquí. There also was heavy rain in Pococí, Siquirres and Matina, said the commission.

Homes were flooded, and some homes suffered structural damage. There also was flooding in Venecia and Aguas Zarcas de San Carlos. The  Río Siquirres was at flood stage. The commission said that the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad shut down the  Cariblanco hydro plant as a precaution.

Some residents were returning to their homes late Sunday afternoon as the water receded, but, considering the weather institute prediction, that may be premature.

In addition to flooding, there were reports of landslides on some major roadways. Other highways were inundated.

Emergency commission engineers were to evaluated the latest storm damage today.

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