Friday, May 30, 2008

Costa Rica on red alert for tropical storm "Alma"

Residents wade through the flooded main street during floods caused by Tropical Storm Alma in Parrita, Costa Rica, 250 kilometers south-west of the capital of San Jose, Thursday, May 29, 2008. Tropical storm Alma caused heavy rains and flooding in Costa Rica before moving up the Pacific coast of Central America. (AP Photo/Kent GilbertCosta Rica's central Pacific coast was put on red alert Thursday amid heavy rains and flooding caused by tropical storm "Alma," local media reported.

Alma, the first tropical storm to batter the country this year,has caused major rivers such as Parrita, 90 km southeast of San Jose, to burst their banks.

Some 120 houses have been inundated and several important bridges are in danger of collapsing, according to reports by Local TV and the National Commission for Emergencies.

The storm, which is now 120 km from Punta Santa Elena, northeastern Costa Rica, is moving toward Nicaragua and Honduras, the Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica (IMN) said.

The tropical storm could become a hurricane in 24 hours, according to IMN.

Alma is also affecting the coastal province of Guanacaste and some villages such as Hojancha, Santa Cruz and Nosara, where flooding, strong winds and high waves have been reported.

Source: Xinhua News

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