Monday 20 March 2023

Storm leaves closed roads, collapsed bridges and flooded Turrialba

If you have to go out today, be prepared: This Friday the rains will continue in most areas across the country as an "Orange" alert is maintained in the Caribbean, North Zone and Turrialba, and a "Yellow" alert for the Central Valley

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QCOSTARICA – The heavy rains that began Thursday afternoon, that continued into the night and this Friday morning, affect a large part of the territory leaving serious damage to bridges and roads in particular in Turrialba and the Caribbean region.

A strong torrent furrowed, this Friday, the center of Turrialba. The villagers had to take shelter while the waters receded. Photo: Courtesy of Olman Mora

In Turrialba, several rivers flooded the town, converting the streets into rivers.

According to Turrialba mayor Luis Fernando León Alvarado, the impact is the strongest so far this year, since it exceeds that of another storm that occurred in the area since last April.

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León added that there are many reports of falling material and trees on cantonal and national routes, some of which remain closed.

One of the roads affected is the Ruta 32, the San Jose to Limon route. The Ministry of Transport continues with an evaluation and clean-up of various “events” occurring between Heredia and Guapiles, the section that weaves through the mountain.

This Friday morning the road continues closed until “further notice”. If you are traveling to and from the Caribbean, check ahead of road conditions and closures and be reminded that alternates are also affected, such as that through Turrialba.

Rains to continue

This Friday morning is one of those rare mornings when most of the country wakes up under a heavy rainfall.

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According to meteorologist Daniel Poleo, this Thursday accelerated trade winds were recorded, as well as accumulated rains that reached 180 liters per square meter in Siquirres, during a period of twelve hours.

In the same period, the accumulation was 190 liters in La Rita de Pococí, between 140 and 180 liters in Cahuita, but reached 270 liters per square meter in Turrialba.

Floods in Limón. The residents of Penshurt, in Valle la Estrella, Limón, have been facing the consequences of the torrential downpours that hit the country since Thursday.

For this reason, strong floods were generated in Turrialba, as well as in Siquirres, Valle la Estrella, Pococí and the Virgen de Sarapiquí sector, among others.

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The national weather service, the Instituto Metereológico Nacional (IMN) says that the rains of variable intensity will continue in the Caribbean and northern regions during the early part of this Friday.

Great caution is requested in the affected areas that include many parts of the Central Valley –  Cartago, La Unión, Curridabat, Goicoechea, Moravia, Tibás, Coronado and Heredia, among others.

Regarding the wind, in the Cordillera de Guanacaste wind gusts of between 70 km/h and 90 km/h are expected; while, for the Central Valley, the gusts would be between 40 km/h and 60 km/h.

According to the CNE report, this is the summary of incidents reported this Friday morning:

  • 391 floods
  • 50 homes flooded in Sarapiquí, one destroyed in Paraíso, and houses affected in Turrialba and Guatuso.
  • 303 people in 8 shelters located in Valle de la Estrella, Talamanca, Matina, Sarapiquí and Turrialba
  • 7 affected routes: Preventive closure of Route 32, Route 10 (Turrialba), Route 415, Route 230 (Pacayas-Turrialba), Route 224 (Ujarrás), Route 2256 (Cachí-La Suiza), Route 36 (Bribí)

An “Orange” alert is maintained in the Caribbean, North Zone and Turrialba, a “Yellow” alert for the Central Valley, and a “Green” alert for the North, Central and South Pacific.

Authorities recommend:

  • Exercise caution in areas of vulnerability to flooding due to sewerage saturation and stream overflow.
  • Care for those who travel in boats and motorboats and in light aircraft.
    Attention to electrical storms
  • Find shelter in a safe place in case of strong gusts, due to the possibility of falling tree branches or power lines.

The photos from various media and social networks tells the story

In Valle la Estrella, in Limón, people struggled to move through the flooded streets. Photo: Raúl Cascante

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