A tropical wave that caused rain over most of Costa Rica on Wednesday left the country in the early hours of Thursday. But the National Meteorological Institute (IMN) announced the arrival of another tropical wave on Thursday night.
The number of people evacuated because of flooding increased, according to a report issued Thursday by the National Emergency Commission (CNE). Currently a total of 1,630 people are at 17 shelters — a significant increase from the 1,057 people that CNE reported on Wednesday.
Red Cross staff are currently visiting affected people in flooded areas and also are helping CNE deliver food, water and other supplies to shelters located in the Limón cantons of Matina, Siquirres, Pococí and Central Limón, as well as in Sarapiquí in Heredia province, Turrialba in Cartago province and Guatuso in Alajuela province.
CNE maintains a Red Alert — the highest — for cantons in Limón, Heredia and Cartago and a preventive Yellow Alert for communities in northern Alajuela province.
IMN’s forecast director Werner Stolz said the tropical wave likely will increase rainfall levels in these areas, but also in the south and central Pacific and even in Guanacaste province, where severe drought conditions have recently reigned. IMN is forecasting rainfall levels in Guanacaste and Puntarenas ranging from 40 to 60 millimeters starting early Friday.
“We also expect increased rains along the Caribbean and in the northern regions, although showers will be intermittent,” Stoltz said. Rainfall levels for these regions will range from 10 to 30 millimeters, according to IMN.
The increased precipitation expected for Thursday night could cause flooding and landslides, and therefore meteorologists are warning residents and motorists in these areas to exercise extreme precaution.
SENASA monitors animals’ situation
National Animal Health Service (SENASA) officials started inspecting animals on Thursday both in flooded communities and at shelters in Limón, Heredia and Cartago.
SENASA Director Bernardo Jaén said preliminary estimates indicate there are some 14,000 farm animals at 330 farms needing food and other basic supplies.
President Luis Guillermo Solís promised animal owners that government agencies would include animal feed in the supplies being delivered. The president visited various shelters on Thursday morning and promised evacuees that SENASA would also provide food for their dogs, cats, chickens and other small pets.
President Solís pets Lulú the cat, one of the animals at a shelter in Sarapiquí, Heredia.