Costa Rica’s Rainy Season Kicks off With a Tropical Storm.
A tropical depression forced officials to raise a red alert after it passed only 70 kms away from the Pacific Coast in Guanacaste last night at exactly 10pm and has since strengthened to be declared the first Tropical Storm of the season this morning at 9am. Tropical Storm Alma is currently just south of the Pacific Coast of Nicaragua and is battering the region of Guanacaste, the Central Pacific and causing heavy rains and flooding all the way to the Central Valley.
The effects are being strongly felt along the coast, especially in Samara, Garza and Nosara. Samara, on the Nicoya Peninsula, was hit particularly bad. There were high winds causing damage to buildings, including the police station on the beach, trees falling on houses, and huge waves breaking on the beach menacing to flood the hotels and coastal dwellings. All over the coast, rivers are overflowing, bridges have been washed away and trees have fallen. In many cases it is impossible to go anywhere, and most residents are stuck in their homes hoping that this will soon pass. The less fortunate have already seen their houses flooded and had to abandon them.
On the central Pacific Coast, Parrita, Cobano and Puntarenas are now officially flooded. Parrita in particular gets hit hard every year, and a situation like the one we have today could be a dangerous one.The president of the National Commission of Emergencies (CNE), Daniel Gallardo, announced this morning that the country is well equipped to face this natural disaster, with the required technology and resources to fight the heavy rains and wind. Let’s hope that this is the case this year, as there are currently 900 families in Costa Rica that are still without a home due to last year’s flooding.
As this first tropical storm of the season continues to strengthen (with winds up to 87 km/hour) there is the chance that it could become a hurricane. It will continue to build up more strength and is expected to last well into the weekend. Alma threats to cause dangerous flash floods and mud slides that can be fatal.
With soil already so saturated, the continued rain will cause more floods and rivers to overflow their banks. Rescue and emergency workers arrived in Parrita yesterday, bringing supplies and helping those already homeless, while more help has been sent today to the Nicoya Peninsula, Quepos and Filadelfia, among others areas that are considered to be at high risk.
It is recommended to stay at home and avoid traveling anywhere out of the Central Valley at this point. Those living on the coast should listen to recent information, and take all necessary precautions, especially those living near rivers. When possible, it is safer to move to higher grounds where there is less danger of being flooded.
Nicaragua and El Salvador are also on red alert, while Honduras is expected to experience flooding too!
In the face of natural disasters like this one, there is little we can do but take the necessary precautions and wait till it passes!
|Written by Mireille|
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Filed under: Costa Rica News on May 29th, 2008