Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Record-breaking rains pound Costa Rica

(Photo: Alejandro Sandino/La Nacion)By Amanda Roberson
Tico Times Staff

Intense rain that destroyed roofs, walls and a dike in the Central Valley and Southern Zone Monday also broke national records, according to National Meteorological Institute (IMN) meteorologist Max Mena.

In the northern suburb of Tibas, about 80 millimeters of rain fell in one hour, at least 10 centimeters more than the national record, he said. The rest of the San Jose area as well as the Southern Zone also experienced rain so intense it turned some roads into muddy rivers, damaging homes and infrastructure.

In the Southern Zone canton of Corredores, a dike broke, flooding neighborhoods in nearby Ciudad Neilly, according to a statement from the National Emergency Commission (CNE), which yesterday declared a green, preventive alert for the Pacific slope, Northern Zone and Central Valley. Three bridges were also washed away near Ciudad Neilly.

About 27 families had to evacuate their homes in the Corazon de Jesus neighborhood of the northwestern San Jose district of La Uruca, the statement said.

In Tibas, a vehicle was nearly swallowed by a hole in the road as it attempted to make it through thigh-deep water, and residents of one condo in the western suburb of Escazu saw a chunk of their ceiling cave in from the pressure of accumulated water.

“The intensity was extremely high, and we also saw a lot of electric activity” in the form of thunder and lightning, Mena said, adding that there's lots more rain and possibly tropical storms to come in September and October, typically the wettest months of the rainy season.

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