QCOSTARICA – Tropical Storm Bonnie had a fast displacement speed. With an average of 35 kilometers per hour, meteorologists estimate that it has been more benevolent than others, such as Storm Nate, whose forward speed was 15 km/h, in October 2017 causing enormous damage.
What characterized Bonnie was a very fast movement speed. “Generally, when this type of phenomenon moves with that speed, it tends to generate much less effects,” said the director of the national weather service (Instituto Meteorológico Nacional – IMN), Werner Stolz.
Stolz added that another important factor was that the strongest winds were concentrated to the north and northeast of the system, a great advantage to reduce its impact in terms of the amount of rain and the effect of the wind.
“The rains were much less than expected, except in the northern sector of Guanacaste,” where the preliminary amounts are 225 liters per square meter between Friday and Saturday (July 1 and 2).
Nate caused damage because it did not cross the country like Bonnie, but remained almost stationary off the northeast coast of Nicaragua, with sustained winds of 65 km/h and sometimes higher.
At sea, Nate was fueled from the water to gain strength, contrary to Bonnie, as like all cyclones, losing their strength when entering dry land.
With Nate, the associated bands generated extremely high amounts of precipitation. As a result of that indirect effect, roads collapsed, entire stretches disappeared, bridges were undermined and washed away, sewers collapsed, and land slides in all provinces except Limón. Nate brought with it continuous downpours for more than 12 hours in almost the entire country.
In the case of this past week, it was forecast that Boonie would bring up to 16 hours of downpours. But that was not the case.
Bonnie entered Cosgta Rica through the Isla Portillos, Pococí, at around 8:45 pm Friday and then continued west on its path through Nicaragua, re-entering our country through Los Chiles de Alajuela and at about 12:45 am towards Lake Nicaragua, crossing it to later leave Nicaragua at Esquinita beach, in San Juan del Sur, 7 am Saturday.
By Saturday afternoon Bonnie was more than 200 kilometers northwest of Cabo Blanco, Puntarenas, after a journey of about 10 hours along the border cord between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.
According to Daniel Poleo, IMN meterologist, in a period of six hours, during Friday night and early morning Saturday, the downpours in Guanacaste had maximum values of between 130 and 150 millimeters (liters per square meter) in Sardinal and Ocotal de Carrillo, while towards the Gulf of Santa Elena, in Cuajiniquil de La Cruz fell between 200 and 220 mm, that is, rains so heavy that they overflowed rivers such as the Tempisque and the Cuajiniquil rivers.
In other sectors such as Liberia, Upala, Copalchí de La Cruz and Palo Verde, amounts between 85 mm and 115 mm were accumulated in periods of six hours, saturating soils throughout the north of Guanacaste, the mountainous region of Tilarán and surroundings.
Wind gusts reached speeds between 65 and 100 km/h in the vicinity of the Guanacaste mountain range, mainly in the cantons of La Cruz, Santa Rosa National Park, Tilarán, Bagaces and Cañas, which caused strong waves and choppy seas throughout the Pacific coastal region of Guanacaste.
By Sunday, the influence of the storm Bonnie gradually diminishes as it entered the Pacific Ocean, as the country returned to seasonal rainy conditions.
Other areas such as Playa Jacó, Puntarenas, and local emergencies committees reported falling trees in rivers and streams.
The Bomberos (Fire Department) reported attending to at least five incidents due to falling trees on roads, such as in La Colonia de Pococí, Liberia, Carrandí de Matina, Colonia Puntarenas de Upala and in Zapote de Zarcero. No major damage was reported.
For its part, the Cruz Roja (Red Cross) reported it carried out 15 rescues and deal with 63 floods.
The executive president of the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE)- National Emergency Commission, Alejandro Picado, reported that due to the storm, 3,536 people were evacuated to 54 shelters. Many of them were still fresh memories from the impact of Nate and Hurricane Otto, which in 2016 generated destruction and death in our country.