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Costa Rica warns of saturated soil, flooding due to indirect effects of Hurricane Eta

November 3, 2020

The National Emergency Commission (CNE) says 79 communities across Costa Rica have reported flooding due to the indirect effects of Hurricane Eta, which made landfall as a Category 4 storm in Nicaragua earlier Tuesday.

The CNE placed the Central Pacific, the North Pacific, and the canton of Upala under an Orange Alert, indicating that local emergency-response teams are mobilizing to protect citizens and infrastructure from the impacts of persistent rainfall.

The South Pacific, Central Valley and Northern Zone all remain under a Yellow Alert, meaning citizens should be prepared for the risk of growing affectation. The Caribbean is under a Green Alert, advising that people should remain informed.

“If we had a larger impact of the phenomenon, with large-scale flooding and significant danger to the population, we would issue a Red Alert. This is not a scenario we are predicting for any of the zones,” explained Alexander Solís, president of the CNE.

Guanacaste, the South and Central Pacific regions, and the Central Valley have all received heavy rainfall over the past 48 hours, leading to heavily saturated soils that increase the risk of flooding and landslides.

Twenty-six people are currently in shelters due to flooding, per the CNE. On Tuesday afternoon, National Police reported several overflowing rivers in Guanacaste.

“We are prepared to shelter a large quantity of people if the situation calls for it,” Solís said.

According to the National Meteorological Institute (IMN), Guanacaste and other Pacific regions should expect heavy rains to continue over the next 36 to 48 hours.

In addition, the IMN says those on the Pacific Coast should be cautious of large waves and strong currents.

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