Rare Tropical Storm Smashes Into Costa Rica

May 30, 2008

At least 120 homes have been flooded, and bridges and roads across the country have been blocked or damaged by a rare tropical storm that hit the Pacific coast early Thursday.

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) announced a red alert, its highest, for the northwestern province of Guanacaste and the Central Pacific.

Emergency workers have evacuated about 80 people from the Parrita Centro, Pueblo Nuevo and Sibrad areas, according to CNE spokeswoman Rebeca Madrigal.

As many as 60 accidents had been attributed to the tempest – called Tropical Storm Alma – by early Thursday morning, according to the Transportation Ministry.

Winds had been reported as high as 55 mph as of mid-day, according to the National Meteorology Institute (IMN).

When winds reach 74 mph, a storm is considered a Category 1 hurricane.

JuanSantamaríaInternationalAirport west of San José and DanielOduberQuirósInternationalAirport in Guanacaste were open and running as normal.

TobíasBolañosAirport in Pavas, between Juan Santamaría and San José, was closed Thursday, said Miguel Ortega, an airport manager.

Tropical storms usually form in the Caribbean sea. “This is the first time a tropical storm has hit the Pacific coast in this location in 120 years,” said Jose Joaquin Aguero, an IMN meteorologist. “The last time this happened was around 1887.”

The rains, which began last weekend, look to continue, particularly along the Pacific as the storm moves toward Nicaragua.

 

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